How to Get Rid of Medical Debt & How to Prevent It From Happening

No one ever plans to get sick, but those medical bills can pile up when you do. If the problem is something chronic and severe, medical debt becomes a major concern on top of the already stressful health issues. 

How to Get Rid of Medical Debt & How to Prevent It From Happening
[ image: freepik by snowing ]

Lack of money should never be a legitimate obstacle to good medical care. It frequently is, though, when insurances deny procedures or facilities want big money upfront. 

As we get older, it’s more likely that we’ll need healthcare. Prevention is the key to major medical debt. However, if you already have the bills, there are financially savvy ways to get rid of them. 

1. Call for a Reduction

Most people don’t realize that they do have a little bit of leeway when they get a medical bill. There are some regulations that have to be followed, but you can call the billing department and request a discount.

If you paid cash, there is almost always a self-pay reduction. You can ask to negotiate the rates you were billed at. However, if the bill was sent to the insurance company, the facility doesn’t have as much room to juggle your costs. The insurance company tells them what you owe.

Patient responsibilities that are due to deductibles and copay are a legal obligation. The patient has to pay them, and the office or facility has to charge them.

There are some instances when your bill can be “written off” or reduced. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no, right?

2. Request a Payment Plan

Getting on a payment plan can prevent you from having your bill sent to a collections agency. Let the provider know how much you are comfortable paying per month.

As long as you continue to pay regularly, the billing department is usually satisfied. They won’t pursue legal avenues of debt collection. 

The trick is that you must contact them. A lot of people are hesitant about calling a debt collector. If you don’t, you won’t be able to work out a payment plan. It’s possible that you may even qualify for a hardship plan where you are able to get a much lower bill.

3. Use an In-Network Provider

You can avoid accruing extra debt when you use your insurance by making sure you go to providers in your network. While it’s always a priority to see the very best of the best for important matters, sometimes you can be choosy.

For instance, if you need any radiology done, have your doctor refer you to someone in your insurance’s network instead of their go-to facility. Use the insurance company’s preferred hospital when possible.

Using an in-network provider can save you thousands of dollars on your medical bills. These healthcare facilities have agreed to a discounted rate with the insurance company. This is reflected in your lower patient responsibility.

4. Join a Healthshare Plan

Health insurance is a recommended part of preventative financial planning, but traditional plans aren’t for everyone. A mediocre plan with a high deductible and big copays can still run you hundreds of dollars.

If you’re typically healthy but want to make sure you have some protection, a healthshare plan might be a better option.

In a healthshare plan, a group of people who, like you, are pretty healthy come together to pool their monthly dues. When someone in the group needs health care, the coverage comes out of the pool of money collected.

It’s a pretty simple idea that works well as long as you use it for the covered expenses. Check with the peach state health plan you are considering to find out what the eligible medical treatments are.

5. Use a Medical Credit Card

If you can help it, never put your medical debt on a typical credit card with a high interest rate. It can take years to pay off, when a payment plan would have likely worked with little to no interest.

But if the provider is determined that you pay your bill upfront or quickly, a medical credit card may be the answer. You can apply for these cards online.

Because they can only be used for your medical bills, they’re often offered at 0% financing for the terms given, provided you pay it off by then. Common terms are 12, 24, and 36 months.

Not all providers accept these cards. Be sure you know exactly what your bill is after it’s been negotiated down, and verify that the provider is willing to take the medical credit card.

Medical problems are scary and stressful. Adding debt in the form of high medical costs to your problems can make your stress worse.

These tips will help you get out of the debt you’re in if it’s too late and prevent you from having major medical bills in the future.

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