Debt Doctoring: How to Manage Your Medical Debt

dollars and stethoscope over a medical bill

Are you struggling to pay your medical bills? You're not alone. In fact, over 42.9 million Americans carry medical debt - and many of them go bankrupt.

One in 10 U.S. adults delay medical care due to the high costs. More than half are uninsured, which further increases their expenses. On top of that, health care costs are on the rise.

Luckily, there are ways to manage your unpaid medical bills and get out of debt. It won't be easy, but it's worth the effort. If you start today, you'll be debt-free a few months from now on.
Interested to find out more? Here are some simple yet effective ways to deal with medical debt:

Check Your Medical Bills

The first step to get out of debt is to check your medical bills as soon as possible. Read and review everything so you know exactly what you have to pay. Ignoring them is not an option.

Unpaid medical bills can get you in trouble. They will affect your credit score and result in penalty fees. Your health care provider may even send your bills to debt collectors.
In the worst case scenario, medical debt can lead to expensive lawsuits and even jail time. Even though this rarely happens, it's a risk worth considering.

Remember that most medical bills are negotiable. Additionally, hospitals and clinics often offer flexible payment plans.

Organize your bills by date and determine when they are due. If there are any questionable fees on the bill, call your health care provider so you can discuss them. Check for any costs or overcharges for services you didn't use.

Medical billing services have evolved a lot, but mistakes can still occur. This may happen when there's a big delay on billing or when you receive extensive treatment. That's why it's important to double check everything.

Set Up a Payment Plan

Even if you have savings, a $10,000 medical bill can still affect your budget. The best way to tackle this issue is to ask your doctor to set up a payment plan.

Health care providers are aware that not everyone can afford treatment. Many times, they will be willing to offer flexible payment terms. For example, they may break up larger bills into smaller payments.

Negotiate Your Bills

Once you know what your medical expenses are, try to negotiate with the clinic or hospital. They may offer discounts for paying a larger sum upfront.

If possible, find out the costs of your treatment beforehand. Contact several healthcare facilities and request quotes. In case your doctor is charging you above average, ask if they can bring their fees down.

Investigate All Your Options for Unpaid Medical Bills

These are just a few of the many ways to manage unpaid medical bills. You can also look up local assistance programs and charities, work with a medical-billing advocate, or explore alternative fundraising options.

Don't ignore debt collectors. Most times, you may able to reach an agreement with collection agencies. Ask them to not report your medical bills if you start to make payments.

For other money management tips, check out our blog posts. We'll show you how to create a daily budget, how to compare banking solutions, how to repair your credit score, and much more!

 

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