Unpaid medical debt has the potential to become a financial burdens for years. Hospitals and medical providers are often quite aggressive when seeking payment. When the amount they are asking for every month gets out of reach of your family budget, the stress can be overwhelming.
For major medical treatment, health insurance may not cover the tab, and the amount left owing can be significant. Fortunately, most people have options for greatly reducing or eliminating medical debt through repayment plans, debt consolidation agreements and bankruptcy. Here are a few tips for staying ahead of the bill collectors.
1. Stay on top of debts and get in touch
Call your doctor’s office or the hospital to find out if there are ways to reduce the debt or to pay it back over time. It’s a reality that medical debts are often higher than people can afford to pay for services. No one wants to ruin their credit over bills, so most doctors and hospitals have ways that you can pay down what you owe over time or through other financing plans.
2. Double-check bills with insurance
The reality is that mistakes are often made in the medical world. Your billing statement could have mistakes making you pay much more than what you really owe. If your insurance company didn’t cover something it should have, you could end up with unexpected bills as well. A good tip is to contact your insurance company and verify each charge, so that you know that you truly owe it to the hospital or doctor’s office.
3. Be ready to negotiate
Finally, know that there is a chance to negotiate the cost of medical bills. A doctor or hospital would rather get something than nothing, so offering to pay a portion of the bill in full or negotiating a monthly payment plan can help you get into a better position where you can afford to pay down your debt.
If nothing else, remember that bankruptcy is also an option you can consider if you get into trouble with debt. Every debtor’s situation is different, but with the right information and help, there’s a chance you can walk away from the debt that threatens your financial security every day.