Get Help with Medical Debt
Get help with paying bills; even people with health insurance aren’t immune from medical debt bills issues. While there is an increased number of individuals with insurance, very little is done to hold the price of premiums from rising and set limits on deductibles.
This leads many Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck towards bankruptcy. There is no way to know how many bankruptcy cases are the result of high-cost medical bills.
However, it is a given that a huge medical bill or expense of treating chronic ailments is a significant factor in the majority of the thousands of annual bankruptcy filings.
Even people with jobs and insurance suffer the strain. Copayments and deductions increase every year for many insurance employees. In an earlier survey, one in five reported difficulty paying medical expenses.
If you slip off a step or experience a heart attack, the expense of treating it could be enormous. A good insurance policy will cover a substantial amount of the costs. However, nearly every policy has exceptions. Usually, it’s an extremely high one.
The prices are often overwhelming for those who don’t have insurance or policies that aren’t up to par. There are options, however, and if you cannot pay the hospital bill, these should be considered.
What happens to unpaid medical Charges?
If you cannot pay your medical bills on time and cannot find help to resolve the issue, they’ll eventually be given to a collection company. The Federal Reserve estimates that more than half of accounts sent to collection agencies have medical debt.
Similar to credit card issuers, doctors and hospitals offer debt that they cannot recover after a certain period. They will typically send letters or phone calls, text messages, and emails demanding payments. Collection agencies aren’t able to threaten you with arrests or make calls.
But at times, they’ll try to make you feel uncomfortable and remind you that failing to make payments will seriously damage your credit rating.
If you’re unable to reach an agreement with the agency that collects your debt, you may end up facing an action in civil court demanding the payment. Being in medical debt can turn your financial life into a nightmare.
What are you able to do? If the debt remains with the physician or the hospital, you were treated and examined for any errors on the bills you have received. These errors are common and can result in double billing for a process or supply. You can tackle this yourself or, if it appears too difficult, employ a medical billing professional to help you.
Negotiate the amount to be paid
If you’re unable to identify mistakes, you could try negotiating with your doctor, the hospital, or your bill collection agency.
Ask about the lowest cost the insurance company pays the provider, and then try to have the rate be applied to the amount that you have to pay. Also, inquire whether the debt collector would accept a zero-interest payment plan or explore medical financing.
Be aware that regardless of whether the medical provider or a debt collection agency, the person who is seeking payment is usually more interested in some sort of payment over nothing.
The best way to do this is to communicate your circumstances to the collection agency, highlighting your inability of you to cover the entire amount that was billed.
If you do not have health insurance, inquire about what Medicare will reimburse you for the treatment or service and then offer to pay for the cost. Keep your cool when you talk about your bill, and make sure to take notes.
Make sure you ask who is answering your call, as well as any reference numbers that may have been assigned to the account, to ensure you can follow the matter to someone else if needed.
If you have enough cash in your account to pay for the bill at a lower rate, make an offer to pay the bill immediately. Offer to provide proof that proves your earnings. If your income isn’t enough, a nonprofit hospital or clinic may offer to reduce or even eliminate your debt.
Establish a Payment Plan
While medical debt can be burdensome, it has a benefit when compared to credit card debt: there’s typically no interest on the amount you have to pay.
This is why it’s generally not a good idea to pay bills using the use of a credit account if you cannot be able to pay for the credit card during the following billing cycle.
Contrary to medical debts, credit card debt comes with a high rate of interest that could easily be higher than 20% per year on the amount.
One method to stop your doctor from selling your debt to an agency for collection is to come up with an agreement on a payment plan with your medical practitioner.
If a medical facility accepts the payment plan will typically not be required to report you to any of the three national credit rating agencies, thus preventing any damage to your credit report.
Even if you aren’t able to reach an agreement with the medical practice, consider making the balance in part, maybe up to 2% or 3 percent of the balance each month.
If the hospital or medical practice accepts your payment, it could be willing to take your check and hold the outstanding debt until it’s paid back. This arrangement could benefit both parties and avoid the need to sell this debt to a collection agency at pennies per dollar.
Government Assistance for Medical Bills
If you’re unsure of the best option to pay for medical bills, think about applying to a government program to help. Medicaid and the state-run Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) both offer medical expense help to those who cannot pay for insurance.
The two programs Medicaid as well as CHIP are federally-funded, but state-run programs that provide assistance to families whose earnings do not meet certain levels. Contact your state’s social and human services agency or the State Medicaid office to find out whether you are eligible.
If you’re a former veteran, suffer from an impairment, or have reached the age of 65 or older, you’re most likely to qualify to receive Medicare or medical treatment via the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans should make contact with their VA, and seniors, as well as disabled individuals, should know about Medicare. The Benefits.gov website has a questionnaire to help you find the right program.
Find a Patient Advocate
If you don’t have the patience or knowledge of the system on your own, it is possible to hire an advocate for patients who are trained on how the system functions and bargaining on your behalf of you.
Patient advocates usually cost between $100 and $165 an hour and usually cost between 20% and 30% of any savings they can make for you.
Professionally qualified advocates are skilled in the analysis of medical bills and are able to point out glaring errors.
They are also able to help you negotiate your medical bills. They can also help with negotiations. Claims.org’s website can assist you in locating an advocate in your region.
Bankruptcy and other alternatives to Medical Bills
The collection agencies and medical professionals can file lawsuits to recover debts that are not paid.
If you’re unable to reach a settlement or deal with the provider, filing a legal action is always an option, and a judge could order your wages to be garnished in order to pay the amount owed.
People with very little income are not subject to garnishment; however, those earning more will be susceptible to garnishments that could reduce their earnings and create other financial troubles.
Filing bankruptcy is a short-circuit procedure. Medical debts are able to be discharged or drastically reduced based on the type of bankruptcy you make.
Before you consider filing for medical bankruptcy, you must discuss your alternatives with a nonprofit debt counseling firm to discuss the options and decide if bankruptcy is a good option for you.