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How to Pay Medical Bills you Cannot Afford

doctor-handing-bill-to-patient

If you are young and healthy, you probably are not that concerned about medical coverage. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have an unexpected medical emergency and get you stuck with a huge medical bill. Some medical expenses can be so high they reach over 5 figures. Below are a few helpful tips and ideas. Please feel free to write any questions in the comments section below.

Understand what happens when bills go unpaid: After a period of nonpayment, the hospital or health care facility will likely sell unpaid health care bills to a collections agency, which works to recoup its investment in your debt. This is usually not a good thing, and once the debt is in collections, it can hurt you for the rest of your life. Agents will frequently call, write, and text to request a payment. Having a bill in collections also significantly hurts your credit score. You can't make medical debt and hospital bills disappear by ignoring them, and you need to make them a focus to pay off.

Make sure the charges are accurate: Medical bills can be wrong all the time. The medical system is a huge mess and have tons of milling mistakes. Some of the most common include charges for services you didn’t receive and medications you never took. If you have an extended hospital stay, sometimes you’ll get charged a full day’s room rate even if you check out in the morning.

Work out an interest-free payment plan: There are many cases where your medical bill offers an interest free payment plan. Depending on the hospital or doctor’s office, the amount you pay each month may be negotiable. They’ll start out with a number that may be too much for you. Don’t be afraid to talk them down.

Ask for a discount: If you are able to pay most of the bill, ask for a one-time discount if you can pay it within 30 days. Many hospitals or doctor’s offices will give you a 10-15% discount as they know they will get paid immediately. 

Apply for financial assistance: If you are unable to pay most or all of the bill, ask for financial assistance. Many people go this route. Many hospitals do offer financial assistance, but each has its own procedure. Most will look into your age and income levels and provide assistance that way. Other hospitals have an easier process, but it still requires a lot of paperwork, including tax forms and other financial paperwork.

Ask for help from your family: Not ideal, but in many cases, family will help out others in a time of need. Especially in cases for medical expenses, there could be family members willing to help.

File for bankruptcy: Medical debt may be discharged in bankruptcy, but experts caution that a medical bankruptcy shouldn't be taken lightly since it will crater your credit health and make it tough to qualify for consumer debt in the future. Bankruptcies will stay on your FICO credit report for up to a decade.

 

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Comments 1

Wanderer on Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:02

Good information and your stressing the point about not ignoring the medical bills as they can affect your future for many years in a negative way is for sure. Thanks for the good information!

Good information and your stressing the point about not ignoring the medical bills as they can affect your future for many years in a negative way is for sure. Thanks for the good information!
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Friday, 15 November 2019

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