Can’t Afford To Pay Your Medical Bills? Here are 8 Ways to Pay for Them
Medical bills are part of all of our lives. The sick, the hurt, even the healthy often end up shelling out precious dollars for healthcare. But, you probably don’t have to pay as much as you think you do. Doing the following can help you drastically reduce the amount you pay:
Don’t Ignore the Problem: As the medical bills pile up, it might be easy to just ignore them, but this will get you nowhere. Hospitals are more likely to negotiate with you if you act quickly, rather than wait several months and then call them.
Try to Settle: Hospitals aren’t above negotiations-they will often settle your bill if you pay immediately. If you can’t pay, ask the doctor or the hospital for help, they will usually knock off a portion of the bill. Hospitals also offer payment plans, plans that are reasonable and affordable.
Use Public System Programs: Medicaid and Basic Health programs can be a huge asset to the financially strapped. You might not think your eligible, but check: you might be surprised.
Use Charity Programs: Most hospitals offer charity assistance to people who meet certain requirements, such as the uninsured. If you think you might meet these requirements, ask the hospital for help.
Appeal Denied Claims: You have health insurance for a reason: to cover your medical expenses. If you have a medical claim that is denied, make sure the denial is valid. If it’s not, appeal it.
Know About Cost Shifting: Many doctors and hospitals offer discounts to insurance companies: they may bill your insurance company $5,000, but your insurance company will only have to pay $4,000. To compensate for this, providers shift the cost onto people who don’t have insurance. This leaves the uninsured paying ridiculous amounts for procedures. Knowing this can help negotiate a better bill for yourself.
Bankruptcy: Filing for bankruptcy can be effective: it will wipe out your medical debt. But, it will also wipe out your credit. Financially, bankruptcy can be extremely hard to bounce back from. This makes bankruptcy last resort. Instead of filing, try getting help from a debt management or debt settlement company.
Use your Credit Card as a Last Resort: Putting your medical bills on your credit card might seem like a pretty good idea, but chances are, it will come back to bite you. The interest rate on your credit cards will likely be much higher than the interest rates from a hospital payment plan.
Though you shouldn’t ignore medical bills, you should pay essential debt, such as your mortgage, before you pay medical bills. Pay for the things you need the most, such as your house, and then worry about your bills.
Medical bills can add up, and add up quickly. But, they aren’t above negotiation. The above tips can help you pay a reasonable bill, rather than one that is going to leave you in debt up to your eyeballs.