What Happens When You Can’t Pay Your Medical Bills
Medical bills have been on the rise for many years and more and more people are finding it difficult to pay their medical expenses. Even with health insurance plans, the recurrent norm is that patients are made to pay a high amount of deductibles.
Sometimes, even when you or your healthcare provider obtains authorization from the medical insurance company before the procedure, some medical claims are denied. For such cases, you need to know your rights, play by the rules, and persist on having your medical bill paid off by your insurer.
The best way to stay out of debt and potential bankruptcy–which can suddenly hit you due to huge unexpected medical bill–is to know the options you have. If you are unable pay your medical expenses and are worried about how it could affect your finances, here are some options for you:
Double Check Your Medical Bills
Compare your bills with the Explanation of Benefits report of your insurer that indicates the amount they paid for your healthcare services. Check that you were not erroneously charged for a procedure you or your loved one didn’t receive like any of the following:
Chances are the medical bill you received is not the itemized copy of your bill. Ask your healthcare provider for your medical chart and itemized copy of your bill to check that you received what you are charged. If you notice a big charge - take this seriously and double check everything.
Find Out About Payment Plans
If all you do when you can’t pay your medical expenses is ignore it, you’ll be endangering your finances. It can affect your credit score and result in bankruptcy if your healthcare provider decides to hand over your case for collection process to begin. The first tip to fixing credit is to understand how your credit score works and move slowly from there.
It is better to speak with the hospital to find out if they have a payment plan that could alleviate you from paying the entire amount at a time. Most health care providers would be happy to let you pay installments for a specific time period without asking you to pay for interest or having it affect your credit rating.
If the provider doesn’t have payment plans or won’t allow you to pay by installments, there are still other financial options you can access to help you manage the bill.
Check if You Qualify For any Assistance Programs
The government, hospitals, and even charity organizations offer assistance programs to people who are below certain poverty levels. You can even go to the extra mile and reach out to community groups or churches to see if they can help you out.
Some assistance programs may even forgive you some or all of your bills if you meet the criteria. If this is an option you are considering, you must act upon it before your information is sent to the collection agency.
Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcies in the United States–you want to get your situation under control before you end up in the same situation.
Consider Using Disability
If you were injured or became sick because of your work–you could be eligible for disability. You want to consult a disability lawyer so you can learn about all of your options.
If you feel uncomfortable filing for disability because you don’t want your boss thinking differently of you–go ahead and learn about your options. When you are truly hurt on the job or have a work-related injury, you have a right to be compensated.
Negotiate with Your Provider
One of the biggest reasons why people end up in debt is because they are too embarrassed to negotiate with their provider. By negotiating, you can save yourself a lot of money and trouble, rather than letting your bills pile up.
Insurance firms do negotiate, so it isn’t impossible to do. If you are battling medical debt and you aren’t insured, you should absolutely be negotiating. Think of it this way - the worse thing they can do is say no. And if they do, they might have some other suggestions for you to try.
Finding Financial Stability
Being financially stable is one of the most rewarding feelings a person can have. If you don’t think you will ever reach that place–it is possible, you just have to be persistent and do whatever it takes to get you there.
There are other ways to go about paying your medical bills, you can stop going out to eat as much, or cancel your monthly subscriptions. By putting the money you would’ve been spending toward your medical bills–you will be one step closer to having financial freedom.