This is a follow-up to my previous question.
I've received a relatively large bill from my health insurance provider for an emergency room visit a few months ago. While the bill isn't astronomical it's thousands more than I can afford. My health insurance provider said they would usually cover it but not this time since I haven't met my deductible for the year.
From some preliminary research it sounds like there's options for reducing this bill to something that I can actually afford to pay. I get the feeling that the bill was calculated under the assumption that insurance would just pay it. However this isn't the case hence I'd like to reduce the cost.
What are the options for someone in this situation?
Note: the emergency room service was received at an out-of-network hospital. Also I live in California.
I've considered just calling the out-of-network hospital and asking them to reduce the charges. Ideally they would send my health insurance provider a smaller bill which I could just pay. However I want to be careful about how I proceed.
Perhaps getting a lawyer would be useful. This would probably cost quite a bit more but I'd learn something about the legal system so it's not money entirely wasted. Also I imagine a lawyer would know how to talk to the hospital, which communications channels to go through etc.
Thanks in advance for any and all help!