Your health is quite important, which is why you take the time to see your doctor regularly. However, there may be a time when you start to feel horrendous and end up in the emergency room. That visit could be the start of some major medical issues for you, which could mean you are facing surgeries, inpatient hospital stays, and many other expensive treatments.
While there is nothing you can do to avoid the massive medical bills that come with major medical issues, there are steps you can take when you are facing medical debt.
Here are the steps you need to take when dealing with a huge medical bill:
Make Sure All Your Bills are Accurate and Your Insurance has Paid Their Share
The billing offices for doctors and medical institutions do their best, but even they can make mistakes when creating your medical bills. Whenever you receive a bill, you should check it carefully to see if you are being charged for any procedures you did not have or any supplies that were not used.
If everything looks good on the bill, charged correctly, then it’s time to make sure your insurance company has paid for all the services that they should. Insurance adjustors can make mistakes too, so it is not uncommon for them to not pay a covered charge or to forget that you have already paid your annual out-of-pocket max.
Ask for a Potential Discount if You Choose to Pay with Cash or a Discounted Amount Altogether
Most people are not aware that their doctor’s office and many hospitals offer discounts for those who pay their bills upfront in cash. This is something that you will want to look into, because it could get you a little bit of savings on what you would have paid in the end. A lot of times, medical practices do this, because they save the credit card fees and it ends up being a wash for them anyway.
Many doctors will also offer pay now rates when you are in the office, as it means that they do not need to send out any bills and it is less work for their office staff. They are still reaping the rewards, because they are saving a little bit of money.
When it comes to a hospital bill, you can end up saving at least five percent of what you owe. This may not sound like a lot at first, but when you are talking about large bills, it could be hundreds of dollars.
Create a Payment Plan with Your Doctor or the Medical Institution
Once you are sure your statements are correct and that your insurance has paid for everything they should have, it will be time to create a payment plan for your medical debt. This is not the time to ignore the bill and hope that it goes away. Instead, call your doctor or the medical institution and see what type of payment plan you can figure out that you will all be happy with. You may be thrilled to find out that they will offer you a plan to pay a hundred dollars a month or even less, as long as you make the monthly payment on time.
Ask for Assistance from a Charity
There are times when payment plans for hospital bills, and other medical debt, is just not going to be enough of a help to you. In those scenarios, you should search and see if you can find any charities that would be willing to help you cover at least part of your medical bills. It does take time to fill out all the requested paperwork for charity assistance, but that can be time well spent if you do not have those massive bills hanging over your head any longer.
Ask if Your Doctor or Medical Institution Will Consider a Hardship Consideration and Write Off Your Debt
A hardship consideration is another step you can take when you are facing massive hospital bills or other medical debt. Not every doctor or medical institution will offer this option, especially towards the end of the year, but some will. Hospitals offer this option the most, because they can absorb these non-payments a little easier than doctors can.
Basically, a hardship consideration will entail a healthcare provider writing off the debt and taking a loss on the services that they provided. This is not something that will happen immediately, and you may find yourself spending a lot of time on the phone and meeting with the billing office before you are approved.
When you decide that you want, or need, to go this route, you will need to provide a lot of information. Some of that information will include documentation of your income and a copy of your credit report.
Consider Legal Assistance as a Last Resort, As Bankruptcy May be Necessary in Dire Situations
If you have tried everything that you can to get your debt lowered; create payment plans, and applied for a hardship consideration, and nothing has worked, there is only one option left. That option is obtaining legal assistance, as you may need to file for bankruptcy to get rid of the money that you owe.
No one really loves this route, simply because no one wants to have a bankruptcy recorded on their credit reports. However, it is better than facing massive bills that you have no other way of paying. The good news is that most of the time, a lawyer can manage to work out an agreement with the doctor or hospital, and you may not need to file bankruptcy to get a solution that works for you.
Huge medical bills can be an additional slap in the face to those who have faced a medical crisis, but there are plenty of ways that you can successfully get them paid off with a little bit of work. Then you can continue on your road to recovery and not need to worry about that huge debt hanging over you.