Frequently asked questions
Who is CALMBA?
We are a group of volunteers who believe that too many patients are receiving surprise and unjust medical bills. We believe that this is a structural issue of the U.S. healthcare system and that it is unjust for the responsibility to fall on the patient, so we created CALMBA to help patients.
What can CALMBA do?
If you received a surprise and / or excessive medical bill, fill out a case
submission form. We will evlaute the situation and try to negotiate the bill down to a more reasonable level. Our group consists of lawyers, doctors, healtcare finance executives, and professors at law school / medical school. There are many possible strategies to negotiate reduction in medical bills, and we use our experience to help.
We can negotiate most kinds of medical bills (hospital, physician, laboratory, imaging, etc.) in California. Note that we are unlikely to eliminate the entire bill, but in most cases we can negoitate a significant reduction if we accept your case.
How much does this cost?
Unlike other negotiators who normally charge 35% of savings (i.e. if they save you $1000 they charge you $350), CALMBA is a non-profit supported by grants and donations so we do not charge the patients. We are volunteers joined by a common cause, and we want to help people who cannot afford to pay their medical bills.
Submit your case and we will make an honest assessment on whether we can help you.
However, please feel free to donate and pay it forward if we successfully negotiate down your bill, so that we can grow the organization and help more people. We are a 501(c)(3) public charity and your donation is tax deductible within the guidelines of U.S. Law.
Why is CALMBA doing this for free?
The founder of CALMBA had personally been affected by a surprise medical bill in 2016. He was an experienced healthcare finance executive and was able to successfully negotiate and eliminate the bill. However he felt that the situation was unjust, and the average American would have a tough time navigating the complex healthcare system. In 2019, he executed on his vision to launch CALMBA as a non-profit to help others. See
here for more details.
How will CALMBA negotiate my bill?
We will first evaluate your situation and make a decision on whether to take on your case. If we take on your case, we will negotiate through a combination of financial, medical, and legal strategies. Our Board of Directors and Officers consist of ex-healthcare executives, professors from UCSF and UC Hastings, and healthcare lawyers. Each case is different, but we use our collective experience to help.
How will CALMBA safeguard my healthcare information?
I want help. How does this work?
1). Submit a case and describe your situation with as much detail as possible.
2). Our experts will analyze your situation and evaluate whether our strategy can help you.
3). If we decide to take your case, we will ask you to upload documents to our secure server. All work will be conducted through phone and email.
4). If your bill(s) in collection, we will notify the collection agency that the medical bill is being disputed.
5). We will work closely with you to negotiate a reduction in your bill(s). We know this is very complicated for most people, and we will guide you every step of the way.