Literally adding insult to injury, the cost of medical care can be positively offensive. And yet, we have little choice but to pay if we want to maintain our credit histories and — more importantly — our physical wellbeing. Fortunately, though, there are some viable options for dealing with serious medical debt.
Let’s look at some of them.
Check Medical Bills for Errors
Mistakes do happen. If your insurance company denies coverage of a treatment, go back and appeal. Some insurance companies have a "deny first, then pay if they complain" policy. Ask your doctor’s administrative person to follow up to ensure the billing was formatted properly and coded for the right services. Following up in this fashion can net significant savings.
Ask for a Payment Plan
If the charge is in fact yours and if it is in fact legit, you’ll need to come up with the cash. Ask for a discount if you pay it off all at once. Otherwise, try to negotiate a deal within which there are no interest charges or fees if the debt is paid in full within a certain amount of time.
If the debt has already progressed to collections, negotiate for a lower payoff amount. Collectors often don’t care if they get all the money because they get a cut of whatever they can get. This can work in your favor if you’re diligent, consistent and dogged in your pursuit of an advantageous settlement.
Get a Medical Credit Card
These can be a viable solution, if you’re careful . Many offer zero-interests deals if the balance is paid in full within a certain time period. However, the other side of that offer is the interest rate can be quite extraordinarily high — and it can be applied retroactively if it’s allowed to kick in.
Get a Loan
There are medical loans for health care expenses. These can be used to refinance a medical bill or pay for upcoming care. Essentially personal loans, they are usually secured only by your promise to pay, which means you won’t have to risk your property or your home to get the loan.
You might also seek a traditional personal loan. A zero-interest credit card is another effective approach. However, here too, you must be certain you can pay this off before the introductory offer expires. Further, it helps to have a strong credit score so you can get the most favorable interest rate available.
Seek Professional Help
You might also get in touch with a medical bill advocate. These professionals are trained to spot errors in health care bills. They also know what procedures should cost. Yes, they do charge for their services, but they could save you more than they cost.
As many Freedom Debt Relief reviews will attest, debt settlement professionals can help you negotiate more favorable terms on unsecured debts. There’s a blend of art and science in play when it comes to working with creditors. Sometimes you get lucky and hit up on the right approach early on. Other times it can take quite a while — even as interest charges and late fees could be accruing.
People who do the work every day can be quite helpful.
Ask for Hardship Consideration
We’re talking medical debt here, so it stands to reason your ability to earn could be compromised. Explain this to the provider and ask for a deal that allows you to make payments relative to your income if that’s the case. This can make the debt easier to repay and prevent you from having to deal with collection calls and the like.
These options for dealing with serious medical debt will help you keep things civil while you satisfy the obligation. However, if worse comes to worst, you might have to file for bankruptcy protection and get the debt discharged.