Step 4:

Just as college students apply for financial aid, you should apply for financial aid at the hospital. Many people can qualify and they don't even know it.

Step 5:

If all else fails, ask for a discount off your total bill anyway. Fry said most of the time, you'll get it, if you are professional in your discussion and you agree to pay the price that is agreed upon.

"Hospitals would welcome patients who are willing to step up and negotiate, and agree to pay a lower rate, because hospitals want to get paid, many of these dollars are never collected by the hospitals," Fry said.

Fry says the worst thing you can do is yell or scream at the hospital billing people that you are trying to negotiate with. He has created a website to help patients negotiate hospital bills on their own behalf.  Check it out at BillingAdvocacy.com.