Do you ask about the pricing information before receiving care? Do you use a medical credit card? Here are some ideas to help you cope with medical debt.
It is no secret that the medical costs in our country are skyrocketing day by day. And millions of people are falling prey to the medical debt every year!
If you don’t have any insurance, or policies with high deductibles, then my mate you can be in big trouble!
If you have solid health insurance coverage, bills are somehow manageable through belt-tightening.
Still, you aren’t immune to medical debt problems! The federal Affordable Care Act has expanded the number of people to come under its coverage.
But little has been done to keep premium amounts and deductibles in check. Thereby, it’s pushing many people in our country to live paycheck to paycheck and eventually, towards bankruptcy!
A 2019 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals, about one-quarter of U.S. adults say that they or the family members of their household have had problems paying medical bills during the past year!
Can you imagine?
But you don’t need to worry! You can have a range of options to handle your medical debt!
Here you go!
Go through your medical bills
Before you proceed with the negotiation process, review your bills carefully. The reason being, a study by the American Medical Association's (AMA) shows, 7.1% of the paid medical bills contain errors! Isn’t ridiculous?
You should check the bills like the way you go through your credit card statements. I hope you do that buddy!
Then compare the bills with the explanation of benefits (EOB) from your health insurance company. And, ask your medical provider to give you an itemized bill so that you can see all the charges.
If you spot any errors or have any doubt about any charge, call your medical provider’s office for clarification.
Once you are sure about the accuracy of your bills, you can move on to the next step!
Ask for a “prompt pay discount”
Are your medical bills accurate?
If yes, you can try to negotiate with the billing department to give you a “prompt pay discount”. But make sure that you have enough cash on hand to pay off your bills.
In fact, some hospitals and doctors’ offices give a one-time discount for making lump sum payment within 30 days!
Request a payment plan
Are you off guard by a large medical bill? On that note, what if you can pay off your bills through a payment plan!
Yes, you heard it right! This is one of the simplest ways to resolve a bill which you can’t afford. You may come across many physicians, dentists, hospitals which work out a payment plan for your bills.
You can divide the bill amount into multiple equal monthly payments for a few months until the total amount is covered!
Use a medical credit card
Medical credit cards can be used to cover Lasik or other vision procedures, cosmetic surgery, dental work, veterinary services, or other expensive procedures that you can't cover out of pocket.
So, if your health insurance doesn’t cover a certain procedure, you may use a medical credit card.
You can apply for a medical credit card at a doctor’s office. Else, you can apply for one before visiting as well! In that case, make sure to check whether or not your healthcare provider accepts medical credit card!
Wait! Don’t you want to know about the payment terms?
Well, the medical credit cards usually require you to charge a minimum amount to qualify for interest-free financing.
Moreover, the credit card company might offer you a zero-interest plan for up to 2 years (depending on the card you opt for).
So, do the calculation if you can pay off your debt within that time! If not, you may be hit with a deferred interest rate. And that’s enough to make your debt more costly and substantial.
Approach a medical credit or bill lawyer
Let’s say, you had an extended stay in the hospital. Or, you had an intensive procedure. It’s quite obvious that you are overburdened with the mountain of medical bills.
In this situation, you can hire a medical billing advocate on your behalf. An advocate, who is an expert in medical billing, has know-how about health care bills and common costs for procedures.
He/she can spot errors or overcharging on your bills and help you to reduce the amount you owe!
It’s a great deal indeed! But make sure that you have adequate savings to bear the professional charges of the advocate.
As you can see, medical bills are more stressful in addition to the medical crisis you are going through. But it’s always advisable to resolve any insurance or billing issues within the 6-month grace period!
But, what happens if your medical bills still go unpaid?
Once your bills become delinquent, the bills will go to collections. The hospital or health care facility will sell off your unpaid medical bills.
The collection agency or the collectors will haunt you via call, email, and text to request payment. Besides, having a bill in collections affects your credit score too!
Do you want a delinquent medical debt on your credit report?
Most likely, your answer will be a big NO! Rather, who would want that?
So, one of the helpful tips to stay debt-free is to pay off your medical bills at the earliest! Because medical bills can be terrifying, as it’s quite hard to anticipate what the cost could amount to!
What do you say about medical credit and other ideas here? Tell us in the comments section