High medical bills can be overwhelming after a hospital stay or if you have no health insurance or inadequate coverage. Unpaid medical bills can be a bookkeeping nightmare as they pile up. They can cause stress and even negatively affect your credit score. Here are eight tips that can help you recover from high medical bills and keep you out of debt due to them.
Everything is Negotiable
A typical medical bill could be for surgery, treatments, x-rays, and medications. You may be able to get all or at least a part of your bill reduced. Contact the billing provider and try to negotiate lower fees. This negotiation is often effective as the provider would rather receive partial payment than none at all.
Make a Payment Plan
Most, if not all, healthcare service providers offer payment plans. Again, they would rather get partial payments of the total amount due than none at all. When negotiating a payment plan, use your bookkeeping system to determine what amount you can pay each month that will work within your budget. When setting up the plan with the service provider, be aware of any extra fees or interest they may charge to set up the payment plan.
Authenticate Your Bill
Review your bill as soon as you receive it and check for accuracy. Medical bills are itemized and will show the cost of each item. Highlight any questionable charges and contact the provider to discuss. Depending on the size of the facility and the bill, it can either be remedied immediately, or it can be sent for review.
Health insurance is often provided through an employer; if not, you can look into private insurance options. If you already have coverage and still receive a medical bill, contact your insurance provider and inquire about coverage. Even if they do not cover the item on your medical bill, they will often negotiate a better rate with your provider on your behalf.
Medical Bill Support
Charitable groups and government agencies have been created to help with medical bills and services. These groups and agencies can aid in payments or providing services for free. If you have low to zero income, you may qualify for financial aid or free services.
Choosing a Provider
When choosing a healthcare provider, seek out doctors who accept your insurance. If you have no insurance coverage, seek out a provider that is willing to negotiate your bill before services are provided. Research is essential when it comes to choosing a provider, choosing from a financial standpoint can save you hundreds in medical bills.
Credit counselors will often provide services that will help you lower your medical bills. In some cases, they may even get them forgiven completely. While these services are usually not free, the cost is nominal and worth the savings on your bills.
If you have made every effort to take care of payments and are still unable to pay, your provider may send your bill to a collection agency. The same process will apply to handle the bill at the agency. They now own the debt and will want to negotiate payments that will be beneficial to you and get the debt paid in full.
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