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10 Tips When Dealing With Medical Debt

man shackled by dollar signMedical debt can be a real problem for anyone. The rising healthcare costs can really pull a family into a financial crisis. There is nothing that you can do about it because you cannot ignore getting the medical attention when you need it the most. There are home remedies that you can do, that is true. But it does not apply to all types of sickness. This is especially true for children and the elderly. Both of these age brackets do not have robust physical bodies and you want to give them the medical attention that they need if they get sick.

While the need for healthcare should never be compromised, a lot of people are opting not to avail of it because they lack the finances to pay for the high fees involved. According to a report published on the CommonwealthFund.org, 43% of adults (80 million) are having problems getting the healthcare they need because of the costs. With 84 million Americans either uninsured or underinsured, a lot of them are not financially prepared to face this type of emergency.

The same site also mentioned how more than 75 million aged 19-64 years have availed of medical attention but are having problems paying their bills. 32 million are also reported to have a lower credit score because of their unpaid medical debt.

If you are one of these people who are burdened with a lot of medical bills, you need to start acting on it to keep it from totally ruining your life. Not only that, you have start making the right preparations that will help you avoid future medical cost problems.

10 ways you can deal with your medical bills

Learning how to deal with big medical bills is simple yet the implementation can be tough. Just start with knowing your options and you can take it from there. Here are 10 tips that we have for you when you are burdened with medical debt or you have just received your billing.

  1. Try not to ignore the bills. Trust us when we say that ignorance is not bliss – especially when it is debt that you are ignoring. In fact, the more you pretend that it is not there, the more it will grow. You will find yourself buried in debt and that can have serious effects on your financial standing. Regardless of your financial situation, you will find that there is a proper way of dealing with your medical bills.

  2. Check the bills thoroughly. When you receive your bills, make sure that you check every little detail. Sometimes, there are treatments and services listed that are not part of what you received. Even if you have health insurance and you got the bill stating that they paid for it, check the balance. Make sure you are not missing out on a participation fee that you are expected to shoulder.

  3. See which items in your bill should have been covered by the insurance. You also have to check and make sure that any item that is billed to you is really your obligation. Some of them may be intended for the insurance to cover. Review your policy and make sure that you are being billed correctly.

  4. Create a payment plan. When you have your bill, you need to create a payment plan immediately. Do not postpone it and make sure you incorporate it in your budget as soon as possible. That way, you can see if you have the funds to pay it off.

  5. Find a way to pay off the debt. In case your budget is not enough to incorporate the debt, you have to find a way to increase your income to pay it off. You can either earn more money or you can cut back on some of your expenses – at least until you have fully paid off your medical debt. If you can afford the payments, you can setup automatic payment transfers to make sure that you will not miss out on your monthly obligations.

  6. Do not disregard the medical bills of your kid. Even if the name on the bill is your child’s the form you accomplished in the hospital or health facility makes you responsible for it. You will ruin your credit score in the same way if you ignore this debt.

  7. Search for other options that will help you pay off your debt. If you have low income, you may qualify for Medicaid. If you are a senior, you can qualify for Medicare. Do not ignore these options because they can help you avoid medical debt.

  8. Use your credit card to avoid having your debt sent to the collections agency. In case you really are short in cash, just use your credit card. Not everyone will suggest this but if you know that you will be receiving money in the next few weeks, you can rely on your card for emergencies. Just make sure that you will pay it back.

  9. Research your debt relief options to help with medical debt. If your funds are really not enough to pay for your medical bills, you have to get debt relief help. You have a lot of options before you. Credit counseling and debt management can help you restructure your debts and lower your monthly payments. Debt consolidation loan can consolidate your payments under one lona. Debt settlement is a great way to get your medical debts reduced. Know these options and see which of them will suit your financial capabilities.

  10. Opt for bankruptcy. If you know that you really do not have the money to pay off your dues, you can opt to file for bankruptcy instead. Study from Nerdwallet.com revealed that in 2013, 1.7 million Americans are bound to declare bankruptcy because of their inability to meet their medical debt obligations. The same study also found out that 56 million Americans below the age of 65 years are struggling to pay off their medical debt. If you have no other choice, you have to simply declare bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge any debt that cannot be paid off by your liquidated assets (if any). If you are filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will go through a court-ordered repayment plan.

How to prepare for the rising health care cost to avoid debt

A medical debt infographic published by National Debt Relief showed that 33% of consumers did not use or delayed their prescription because of lack of funds. 39% did not even go to a doctor for fear of medical bills. 36% opted out of a medical treatment because they know they cannot afford it. You do not want to be part of this statistic. You want to be able to spend for your health care costs and that of your family – especially your children.

Here are some tips for you to prepare for health care and not end up in medical debt.

  • Budget for it. Put aside a sum of money every month for your emergency fund.

  • Look for a comprehensive health insurance. You can browse the HealthCare.gov for information about your different options.

  • Check with your employer for a health coverage. They may have one that you do not know of.

  • Understand any genetic illness that runs in the family and find the appropriate organization that is known to give financial aid for it. You can approach your local government, church or charities. That way, you know where to go to when it strikes.

Of course, the best way to really prevent medical debt is to simply take care of your health. Eat nutritious meals, sleep well and exercise daily. That is the only way you can keep healthy the natural way.

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