Manage Your Medical Debt and Reduce Your Stress
Many people believe health insurance will cover them in the event of a medical emergency, but that isn’t always the case. Even for those with health insurance, a hospital visit can be incredibly expensive.
One in five insured working-age Americans reported having difficulty paying medical bills that resulted in serious financial hardship, according to a 2016 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. According to a 2017 Kaiser study, 43% of adults with health insurance said they had difficulty affording their deductibles, and a third said they had trouble affording their premiums and costs.
About 43 million Americans owe medical debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Unexpected medical bills is also a common reason consumers take out payday loans and other short-term loans.
Medical bills can be complicated to understand. It’s not always easy to determine if you’re being charged correctly, and if your insurance was billed correctly. It’s important to compare your bill with your health insurance plan to ensure you’re being billed properly. If you have any questions about your coverage and your medical bill, it’s important to call your health insurance provider.
There’s often no way to avoid medical debt. You should never avoid proper medical treatment to save money. If you are having a medical emergency, seek treatment immediately.
Manage your medical bills better and reduce your medical debt with these four strategies.
You may be shocked to know that medical bills are negotiable. Everything from emergency room charges to x-ray costs are negotiable. Always ask your primary care provider how much your procedure is going to cost in advance and compare it to the average cost. The Healthcare Blue Book is a great resource for this.
If your doctor is charging you an amount that is above the average cost of the procedure, call your doctor’s office and ask why. Attempt to negotiate for a better price. You have a better chance of saving money if your doctor is charging above the average cost than if they are charging below it. You can attempt to negotiate cost after your procedure, but it’s often more affective if you negotiate prior.
Ask for a Payment Plan
Many doctor’s offices allow payment plans. Call your doctor’s billing office to set up a payment plan that works with your budget and their requirements. Many doctors understand the financial challenges medical care can present. They want to get paid, so it’s in their best interest to work out an affordable plan with you.
Some offices may offer you financing in the form of a credit card or loan to help you pay for medical care. Always review the rates and terms of any financing offer to be sure you won’t be charged high interest and fees. Only use financing to pay medical expenses if necessary to afford treatment and if the rates are competitive. With interest and fees, you’ll end up owing more overall for your procedure, but for some patients it’s the only way to afford expensive procedures.
Seek Out Help
There are many nonprofit and charitable organizations that are dedicated to helping patients pay for medical expenses they can’t afford. Many churches, mosques and synagogues offer resources. You can ask your healthcare provider if they know of any charities that could help you.
Many people use crowd funding to pay for medical expenses. By setting up a GoFundMe page your friends and family members can donate money to help you pay off your medical expenses. It can be hard to ask loved ones for money, but you would be surprised at how many people donate to GoFundMe pages every day.
Setting up a GoFundMe is easier than asking for money directly. You can post your page on social media or email the link to friends and family. Then people have the option to help out, but don’t feel pressured to do so.
Don’t Forget About Other Debt
Your medical debt shouldn’t necessarily take precedence over your other debts. It’s important to pay off high interest debt first. If you can’t cover the cost of your medical debt, you could take out an emergency loan or put the charge on a credit card. Then pay it off in installments in conjunction with your other payments.
You may have to adjust your budget to accommodate for your medical debt. Take a look at your expenses and make cuts to help you pay off your medical debt faster.
This post is not intended to be a solicitation for a loan. Pomo One Marketing, Inc. provides these blogs for entertainment and informational purposes only. Remember to consider all your financial options before making any decisions related to credit.