Are you struggling to pay down mountains of medical debt? It only takes one illness or accident to wipe out one’s savings and wind up in debt for a lifetime.
Medical debt is bankrupting more consumers than many other types of financial burdens. Some statistical data indicates that up to 40 percent of adults in the United States are struggling to repay medical debts. Learning how to manage your health care costs can preserve your financial integrity.
— Make sure that the bills are correct. Double-billings, overcharges and charges for treatment or services you never received are more common than one would believe.
— Hone your negotiating skills and see what you can trim off of your bill. Instead of a $10,000 hospital bill, ask if they would accept $7,500 in a one-time payment or series of payments.
— For the uninsured or underinsured, inquire as to whether your health care providers will agree to lower rates or cash discounts.
— Investigate Medicaid and indigent care funds that could cover all or part of your bills. Some programs allow for expenses to be covered during the 90 days preceding your application for assistance.
— Examine bills promptly and address any irregularities immediately, as the window of appeals may be only a month or two.
— Be frank with your creditors. Make them your best offer of settlement, but let them know that you are considering filing for bankruptcy to wipe out medical debts. Savvy providers realize that getting something out of an indebted patient is better than recovering nothing after the debt is discharged. Just be prepared to follow through if you toss out the “B” word. A New Jersey bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the process to wipe out your medical debts once and for all.
Source: Debt.org, “Medical Debt and Collections,” Bill Fay, accessed Aug. 19, 2016