Medical Debt: What Should You Do When You Can’t Pay It Off?

Medical Debt: What Should You Do When You Can't Pay It Off?
As we know, generally people often feel ashamed of their medical debts, considering them their moral obligation to pay their bills and their personal failure when they cannot pay them.

By Manuel Tovar, June 17 – Hispanic Solutions Group

As we know, generally people are often ashamed of their medical debts, considering them their moral obligation to pay their bills and their personal failure when they cannot pay them. What if you can’t pay your hospital bills? What if you have accumulated a medical debt and you have no way to pay it when it is due? In both cases, the consequences can be serious.

People can forgo the care they need, including doctor’s appointments, tests, treatments and prescription drugs, a health policy analysis nonprofit recently reported. They may struggle to pay other bills, deplete their long-term savings, damage their credit, and even file bankruptcy – problems that can take years to overcome.

Medical debt is more common than you think

However, it is not a personal failure; it is a common affliction. In the United States, some people are not paying their medical bills because they literally cannot pay them. According to a 2019 report from a medical media outlet, about 137.1 million American adults faced financial difficulties due to medical bills. And the problem doesn’t just affect low-income households or uninsured consumers; those with solid and secure incomes can face it too.

Knowing this problem, Hispanic Solutions Group, today gives you some advice, through our specialized staff so that you can solve your problem.

Conclusions Considered Key

  • Medical debt is not a personal failure.
  • Millions of Americans struggle with high medical bills.
  • Medical debt is a growing problem in the United States.
  • Review all medical bills for errors and defend yourself if a bill is too high to pay.

People often respond to medical debt by delaying vacations, major household purchases, cutting household expenses, working more, borrowing from friends and family, and turning to retirement or college savings accounts.

If you are faced with medical debt that you can’t pay, try these tips to lower your owe and minimize the effects of bills on your finances, health, and future.

Check errors

Some sources will tell you that between 7% and 90% of medical bills contain errors. The actual percentage is anyone’s guess, but the message is clear: Because medical bills often contain costly errors, it’s a good idea to review them carefully, so we suggest doing so.

So how do you find errors on your medical bills? A San Mateo, California-based company that has helped more than 450 billion Americans get out of debt, says to start reviewing your insurer’s explanation of profit statements. Look for duplicate items, services you didn’t receive, services you don’t recognize, and charges your insurance should have covered. Also, review the bills from your healthcare providers to make sure your insurance has paid them correctly. Call your insurance company or your provider’s billing department to clear up anything you don’t understand or to look for possible errors.

A more advanced technique is to obtain copies of your medical records and try to compare them with the charges for which you have been billed. You may need an expert’s help to protect those records and make sense of it all.

NOTE. – When you look at your debt, it’s not about getting rid of paying medical bills, it’s about making sure you were billed correctly and the services you actually received.

Negotiate your invoice

If you want to negotiate your bill, talk to your healthcare provider’s medical billing manager, the person who really has the authority to lower your bill. Don’t wait until your bill is late or in collection, at which point your credit score will be seriously affected. We recommend that you speak to someone as soon as you receive your invoice and have verified its accuracy.

If you have a low income or are experiencing financial hardship, even if the hardships are solely due to your medical bills, apply for hardship help. Hospital charity care may be available based on your income and savings. In fact, state law requires some hospitals to provide free or reduced services to low-income patients. As soon as your bills come in, let your providers know if medical problems have affected your income and ability to pay.

One strategy to justify lower charges is to compare the price you were billed with an average or fair price charged by other providers in your area. If you have health insurance, your insurer’s website may also have a tool that allows you to obtain an estimated cost of care for various procedures.

Defend yourself

On their website, some specialized entities recommend starting by asking for an aggressive discount for immediate payment, saying something like: “If I pay you 30% right now, will you cancel the rest?” This strategy can work because your provider will save time and money if they don’t have to ask you for payment for months or years. If you can’t pay even a percentage of your entire bill right away, try claiming a 25% discount if you make a large down payment now.

A less aggressive strategy is to ask if the provider will charge you the discounted rate you pay. Now if you can’t arrange a reduced payment, ask about an interest-free payment plan. Regardless of the terms your provider agrees to, be sure to get them in writing.

Get outside help

Few are the experts in medical billing. A smart option is to enlist the help of someone who is: a medical social worker, a debt negotiator, or a medical billing advocate. These professionals might reduce what you owe when you can’t or are too shy to try it yourself. Advocates for medical billing are insurance agents, nurses, attorneys, and healthcare administrators who can help figure out and reduce your bills. They will look for errors, negotiate bills, and appeal excessive charges. Expect to pay an advocate about 30% of the amount your bill is reduced by.

You can also ask to speak with a social worker at your hospital or insurance company if you need help understanding your bills and solving payment problems. A social worker can refer you to charities, churches, community organizations, and government agencies that can offer financial assistance.

The bottom line

It is not a shame not being able to pay your medical bills. It doesn’t matter how high your income is or how well insured you are. Costly medical problems stemming from accidents, illness, and our country’s crazy health economy can afflict us all.

Finally. – These issues are often completely out of the consumer’s control, so take control of what you can. Make sure your medical bills are correct. Negotiate lower bills and interest-free payment plans. And if you can’t manage these tasks on your own, get outside help by coming to us.

We invite you to follow our social networks: LinkendIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find more information related to finances. Also on our YouTube channel The Credit Channel to learn how to improve your credit. If you need help in repairing your credit, disputing debts that do not belong to you, or other services, call us at (612) 216-1599.