When it comes to your health, the last thing that you want to get in the way is medical collections and your ability to pay for the services and medication that you need. This is especially true when emergency strikes. It’s common for patients to lean on lenders to be able to pay for medical bills upfront and pay it back in installments over time.
However, medical debt can itself be financially and emotionally taxing, more so than most other types of debt. After years in the medical field, we’ve found some good tips for managing medical debt before it gets sent to collections.
You’re Not Alone
Did you know that medical debt is the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy in America? Debt.org reports that for most Americans that claim bankruptcy, medical debt is the leading cause. While there’s a comfort in knowing that it wasn’t just your bad decision that led you to debt, it doesn’t change the fact that debt pay-off is now in your future.
This means that medical debt collections are a well-oiled machine and one that many Americans are well-acquainted with.
But before you worry about medical debt collections, know that there’s hope!
What To Do With Medical Collections
Check Your Bill
First, know your way around medical bills and debt. When you’re handed your medical bill for your most recent treatment, look it over carefully. This means looking for errors in what help you received and overcharges and contacting the billing office if anything looks incorrect. If you don’t understand a line item – ask. That’s what medical administration personnel are there for. Being afraid to ask isn’t worth paying extra money that you shouldn’t!
Put On Your Negotiator Hat
Did you know that billing for some treatments and lines of care are negotiable? Go into your medical bill payments with the outlook that you may be able to reduce the amount owed on your bill. Have an honest yet friendly conversation with your service provider. See if there are any areas on your bill that can be reduced, such as general administration or other miscellaneous fees.
Payment Plans Can Help with Medical Collections
Paying for your medical needs doesn’t have to mean that you have all the money upfront. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many Americans. That’s where payment plans can be very helpful. Rather than put the entire bill on your credit card, which has an incredibly high-interest rate, you may be able to work out a payment plan. Many plans have a lower rate of interest, making bill payments more manageable. This puts less stress on you after you receive medical treatments.
Beyond Debt Pay-off: Insurance
You may not have had the opportunity to have high-coverage insurance. But it’s never too late to explore the costs and benefits of having a rock-solid insurance policy for your medical needs.
If you do have health insurance, re-read your policy to see if anything on your bill should be covered by insurance. Also, get in touch to access your coverage and reduce the amount you owe out-of-pocket.