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An unexpected hospital bill can bust the family budget. More and more Americans have health plans that require them to pony up a high deductible before insurance kicks in. That leaves lots of people with bills they can’t pay. Turns out, that’s a crisis for hospitals too, and some are getting creative about collecting debt.

A few years ago, a table saw accident sent woodworker Jim Crannell to the emergency room with a bloody gash in his finger. The pain was bad, and afterward Crannell was bracing for a ghastly medical bill, too. But at discharge, he got an offer that promised to ease his financial suffering.

Listen to find out what happened next on Season 2, Episode 2 of “An Arm and a Leg: A Podcast About the Cost of Health Care.”

Season 2 is a co-production of Kaiser Health News and Public Road Productions.

To keep in touch with “An Arm and a Leg,”  subscribe to the newsletter. You can also follow the show on  Facebook  and  Twitter. And if you’ve got stories to tell about the health care system, the producers  would love to hear from you.

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Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

(c) 2014 Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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