Medical bills can be difficult to deal with because of how large and unexpected they are. However it is important that you do know how to cope with them, otherwise you could end up incurring a significant amount of debt.
While the exact nature of your bills are bound to differ on a case-by-case basis, there are a few steps that you should always take:
- Check your bill thoroughly to make sure no mistakes were made
It may sound unlikely, but the truth is that healthcare providers make mistakes on bills a lot more often than people realize – and the last thing that you want is to be charged for something that you shouldn’t be charged for. That is why it is important that you scrutinize your bill carefully item by item and make sure that all the charges there are correct. If you have any doubts, query the healthcare provider.
- Consult your insurance provider
Assuming you have medical insurance, you should consult your insurance provider in advance of any procedure and then again afterwards. By doing so you should be able to find out what will be paid by the provider, and what you may have to pay for yourself. In some cases you may have to pay initially and your insurance provider will reimburse you later.
- Negotiate a payment plan with the healthcare provider if necessary
If the medical bill that you’ve incurred is too large for you to pay off immediately, talk to your healthcare provider and try to negotiate a payment plan. Most providers will be willing to do so, and will charge you in monthly installments that should be a lot more manageable. No matter what, you should avoid paying off your medical bill using a credit card, as in that case, the interest rate that will be charged will just make your situation worse.
- Use a debt settlement or consolidation loan
In the event that you are unable to pay off your medical debts, you could try using a debt settlement service or taking out a consolidation loan. The benefit of doing so is that, normally the service will negotiate on your behalf to secure lower debt repayments, and you’ll end up paying off your debt in more manageable monthly repayments over the course of a few years. That being said some loans may require home equity, which could leave you exposed if you are unable to meet the repayments afterwards.
That should cover all that you need to know about dealing with medical bills and avoiding incurring debts. In some cases you may have to incur some debt however, which is why it is important to make sure that it is in a manageable sum that you can repay over time. Of course it will also help if you have emergency savings or investments that you can tap into to cover medical costs – as the more you can afford to pay upfront, the more debt-free you are likely to be.
Article Submitted By Community Writer