worried woman

In a poll conducted through the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2019, roughly one-quarter of adults in the U.S. say they or a member of their household has struggled with paying medical bills, just within the past year, reported U.S. News & World Report. That means if you are facing rising debt due to medical expenses, you’re not alone—and there are steps to take to regain control of your debt and keep you and your family healthy and secure.

Financial experts agree that one of the first steps you can take is to make sure your medical bill is correct. Errors happen frequently, so be vigilant on your financial responsibility. If something seems off, call hospital billing to discuss the charges. If you have health insurance, make sure to also call your insurance company and make sure you’re receiving all entitled coverage.

If you’re still unable to pay the amount in full, work with the hospital financial department on a payment plan. Health professionals are known to be more lenient with repayment and will most likely work with you to come up with an option that you can manage within your budget. If you’re not covered, you can negotiate. While it’s no guarantee, you can request they charge you the amount they would charge someone who is insured or under Medicare.

If the rising tide of medical bills seems insurmountable, there are medical credit cards that may offer interest free payment options for a specific window of time, but make sure you’ll be able to pay that off in the designated period or you risk running yourself further into debt as soon as interest rates kick in. Experts agree you should be wary of using credit cards — the downsides usually outweigh the upsides.

Other avenues to consider include taking out medical loans to consolidate health expenses, but again it’s also important that you procure a loan with a low interest rate if you go this route. In these uncertain times, medical expenses have the potential to mount up. The NFCC details coverage you may be eligible under the CARES Act, along with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

When in doubt, request a patient advocate to help sort out expenses with the hospital, and look into credit counseling, which is usually offered at no expense to you.



Comments are closed.