When health issues arise, the primary concern for many affected individuals isn’t recovering from their injury or illness. Instead, they are more worried about the medical debt that may stem from a lengthy stay in the hospital or a surgical procedure. Medical expenses can cripple you financially for several years. So, is there anything you can do to reduce its impact on your daily life? Following the tips in this article will certainly help.

Check All the Available Diagnostic and Treatment Options

The easiest way to avoid paying for exorbitant medical bills is to prevent the hospital and service providers from using the most expensive options. When you receive treatment from a healthcare provider, they may default to using whichever options are being pushed by their practice or hospital. Those options may be the most expensive ones available, and you may not realize that. You may not realize that because your doctor didn’t present other options.

For instance, your service provider may tell you to wear Invisalign clear aligners so you can correct your dental issues. Although wearing clear aligners can benefit your teeth, you may not necessarily have to use the brand originally prescribed to you. You may still get good results from wearing a different type of clear aligner.

Exploring your options is a must even before you get to treating your injury or illness. Talk about the available diagnostic options during your initial consultation so you don’t get roped into paying for a service you didn’t need. Discuss your options as soon as possible so you can exercise more control over your medical expenses. Checking your available diagnostic options is also recommended if you’re consulting professionals to complete your DOT medical examinations.

Examine Your Itemized Medical Bills for Errors

Many of us fall into the trap of assuming that the professional institutions we work with always have our best interests at heart. It’s hard to blame people for thinking or feeling that way. After all, the alternative that the aforementioned institutions are mainly looking out for themselves is troubling. Even so, you cannot assume that the hospital or insurer will do right by you every time.

Before leaving the hospital, make sure you obtain itemized bills for all your medical expenses. Some establishments may not provide itemized bills by default, so request them if necessary. Once you have the itemized bill, you should take the time to examine it thoroughly.

Look for any errors in your bills that hint at duplicate listings or services you never received. There may be lines about physical therapy or psychological testing that should be removed from your bill. Request clarification from the hospital to find out why those items were included. Successfully delisting those items from your bill can reduce your medical debt.

You should also check how your expenses have been covered. There may be items in your bill that should’ve been covered by insurance that remain unpaid. Contact your insurer regarding that matter and ask why they haven’t covered them yet. They may have overlooked those payments initially, so ask them to take care of them now.

Strike a Deal With the Hospital or Service Provider

Negotiating is often an option when you purchase items online or directly from vendors. You’re both trying to get the best deal possible, so haggling makes sense for both parties. It’s important to remember that negotiating is also an option if you’re dealing with medical debt.

Upon receiving your medical bill and learning that you cannot afford it with your current salary, you should call the hospital immediately. Call them and let them know that you cannot pay based on the terms they have currently outlined. Follow that by proposing a payment plan that you can afford.

Ask the hospital if you can make monthly payments of a certain amount so you can fit it into your budget. While proposing this option, make sure the hospital representative knows it is the only payment plan you can realistically stick with. You may have to increase your number a bit to get the hospital onboard, but don’t propose anything that jeopardizes your finances.

Taking the same approach remains an option if you’re negotiating with smaller dental offices, ear doctors, or pain management clinics. Even if they are smaller establishments, they may still agree to payment plans because of the assurance you’ll cover the debt. That’s better than chasing you around until you finish the payment.

If your service provider is unwilling to accept the payment plan because they need money immediately, you can propose a lump sum payment. Tell your doctor you are willing to pay for your full medical debt in exchange for a significant discount. It’s worth asking your doctor if they accept lump sum payments even if they haven’t mentioned it.

Don’t Rush to Pay Your Medical Bills

Since you are dealing with medical debt, you may feel the need to settle it as soon as possible. Even the hospital or throat doctors office may urge you to pay for your bills right away. They can pressure you to pay all they want, but you don’t have to comply.

Medical expenses differ from other debts you may accumulate because they don’t have an enormous impact on your credit score. According to NPR, the debt a person has accumulated from medical expenses is weighted differently. A delayed payment for a medical expense is less impactful than one for your mortgage or credit card bill. You can also cover your septic tank pumping costs before paying your debt.

Furthermore, people are given a good amount of time to settle medical debt before it affects their credit score. You have around six months to start paying your medical expenses before they turn into problems. Use that time to your advantage and negotiate a better deal from your hospital or individual service provider.

Use Charity Care if You Are Eligible for It

Next up, we need to discuss how charity care could be the solution to your mounting medical debt. According to the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, charity care is a financial assistance program that can give people access to free or discounted health care services. Hospitals in certain states are required to offer charity care to eligible patients. In other states, only certain hospitals may be obligated to provide charity care, and some may offer financial assistance programs instead.

The hospitals should outline how patients can apply for charity care or financial assistance. You can ask hospital workers for more information if you don’t see any details regarding charity care or financial assistance. There are different eligibility requirements for the aforementioned programs. More often than not, an applicant’s income is considered when determining their eligibility.

Hospital staff should help patients complete the application process. Once you have submitted the application, wait to find out which benefits you may receive. You should also maintain an open line of communication with the hospital so you can frequently check on the status of your application.

Sign Up for a Medical Bill Payment Plan

With the doctor or hospital refusing to accept any deal you’ve proposed, your best option may be to use their financing options. These financing options include medical bill payment plans and medical credit cards. Let’s focus first on the medical bill payment plans.

A formal medical bill payment plan is different from a deal you may negotiate with a hospital or doctor because it involves a third party. The medical financing provider handles compensation for the doctor or hospital. The payments you make to bring down your debt go to the medical financing provider. Medical bill payment plans appeal to patients because they allow installment payments that doctors or hospitals may otherwise not accept.

Some medical financing providers may also draw in customers with the promise of zero or low interest rates. Just make sure you read the fine print before signing up for a medical bill payment plan. Those consumer-friendly interest rates may only apply for a set period and may increase significantly once that expires. You may end up with larger medical debt if you fail to complete the payments within that set period.

Pay for Your Expenses With a Medical Credit Card

Medical credit cards are very similar to payment plans in terms of how they work. After you are approved by the credit card company, they will pay your medical debt. You will then have to pay them back over several installments. Once again, interest rates for medical credit cards may spike after enough time has passed.

The main difference between medical credit cards and medical bill payment plans may be the company you’re working with. If you aren’t approved by a medical financing provider, you may have better luck with a credit card company. It also works the other way around.

Note that medical credit cards can also be used for various services. You can use it to pay for dental care, certain surgical procedures, and even a consultation with an ADHD psychiatrist. Use that medical credit card to gain access to critical services you need.

Cover Your Medical Debt With a Personal Loan

Taking out a personal loan can help you out of all kinds of difficult financial situations. Unsurprisingly, a personal loan can still prove helpful if you’re struggling with medical expenses. You can visit a bank, credit union, or any legitimate lender in your area and ask if they offer medical loans.

Personal medical loans can be advantageous in certain respects. According to Bankrate, these loans have fixed interest rates lower than what you’ll get if you use a standard credit card. You also don’t have to put up collateral to be approved for these loans. Payouts for personal medical loans are also disbursed pretty quickly, so you can use them for emergency payments.

Of course, there are also reasons why people don’t default to using personal loans for medical expenses. For some, the biggest drawback is the relatively low cap placed on these loans. You are also likely to get a high-interest loan if you have a poor credit score.

Applying for a personal medical loan is also straightforward. The process is similar to securing any other type of personal loan. You may also be able to finish the process faster if you’re working with a previous lender.

Try Your Luck With Crowdfunding

You may find yourself in a weird spot where you’re not eligible for options like charity care, but lenders are also turning down your applications. With your options now severely limited, your best bet may be to use crowdfunding. Crowdfunding efforts have become more popular in recent years as more people are counting on the kindness of others to pay for medical debt.

Truthfully, luck plays a huge role in the success of crowdfunding campaigns. If you can somehow get your campaign in front of the right people, you can quickly garner the support you need. Pushing your campaign on social media can certainly help, but that still won’t guarantee success.

The best you can do is to maximize the chances that your campaign succeeds. Ask your friends and family to spread the word about the campaign so it reaches as many people as possible. Eloquently sharing your story can also help people empathize with your struggles better.

Enlist the Aid of a Medical Billing Advocate

Thus far, the tips we’ve provided in this article have focused on helping people pay medical expenses. We’ve focused on that aspect because most people struggle with it. Still, some people may have more trouble organizing and figuring out their debt instead of coming up with the money to cover it. If that’s the issue you’re facing, you should contact a medical billing advocate.

A medical billing advocate can help with cost reduction and debt organization. They can help you figure out how much to pay and when that payment is due. The services a medical billing advocate provides are especially helpful if you’re still recovering from an injury.

Medical debt can be a massive headache for anyone. Hopefully, the tips listed above can help you handle that debt better. You can also visit our website for more tips regarding debt management.

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