There’s a medical debt crisis in the country. Regardless if they have insurance or not, 41 percent of working Americans have issues with excessive medical bills. That’s approximate to nearly a million people in the U.S.
While the number is hard to swallow, it doesn’t mean the situation is unsolvable. Those who have enormous debt have ways to work their way through it. While it might take some time to do so, the options available can release some pressure. Especially for those still recovering from their injuries.
Here are 5 things to know when you’re in medical debt.
Don’t Ignore the Bills
The lack of funds to pay the medical debt doesn’t mean you should ignore the bills. If this is done, you might miss out on the accrued fees added to each month money isn’t sent.
Usually, this amount gets added in the 90-day period the medical institution holds the bill. After that, it normally goes to a collection agency, and they add even more fees. In the end, talk to the accounting department whenever you receive a statement.
Pay What You Can
Another thing to do when you receive a bill is to pay what you can. It may not be the minimum. In fact, it may only be five or 10 dollars. If you pay what you can afford it does two things.
The main reaction is your principle is reduced. The secondary shift is in the bill’s reset. Instead of 30 days overdue, it goes back to the start. The more you can pay each month, the better it is for your credentials with the medical institution and the credit bureaus.
Dispute Questionable Fees
Another reason to read every medical bill is they might not be as expensive as you think. A closer examination could reveal fees that shouldn’t be included. There may even be costs for tests not even connected to your condition.
These findings need to be reported immediately to the institution’s medical department. They’ll do the necessary research to determine what happened. In the end, bills can be significantly reduced to the point of manageable payments. If you’re not satisfied with the response, then you can escalate the issue.
When medical debt is significant enough, institutions tend to work with you to develop a payment plan. Some of these groups have a set schedule on what needs to be paid per the general amount. Others might work with you to find the best affordable solution.
Should the debt be well above your income, it’s best to request the second option. Yes, it might take more time to zero out the bill. On the other hand, as your income grows, you can increase the payments to quickly close the account.
Another option may be a debt settlement. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of debt relief companies that can help set this program up.
What groups like Alleviate Financial do is work with the doctor or hospital to come to a lower debt payment that’s easier to digest. As long as you agree to make regular payments, you can reduce the amount paid and get it off your plate faster.
In any type of debt negotiation, make sure you get confirmation of the agreement via email or letter. This provides an assurance to all parties about the agreements.
Furthermore, don’t provide any account numbers ahead of time. Have a medical institution or debt collection agencies provide a space to deposit the money. That way, more than the agreed amount can’t be removed.
A large amount of medical debt doesn’t need to fall into the dire category. As long as you have the coping tools available, you can ease through the payments while maintaining money for other bills. It takes patience and some negotiation.
Overall, don’t let any organization strongarm you into a payment. This is especially true if they ask you to take out a loan to close the account. That simply puts you back into the same spot with payments that might be higher than the bill itself.
Work toward payment options or a debt settlement. Most medical institutions don’t want you to get ill with worry, so they’ll work with you to minimize the impact. When a settlement is reached, work to pay it off as quickly as you can.