Health care can cost a fortune in the United States. While receiving medical treatment can be beneficial for one’s personal health, it can also damage their financial health.
According to a recent report, 1 in 5 Americans struggle to pay off their medical debt. Luckily, there are methods available for people to get their bills reduced or even forgiven.
Easing the financial burden
These are a few things for people to consider:
- Be skeptical of the sticker price: Sometimes, a hospital may charge for procedures at a much higher rate than what the insurance company is willing to pay. For example, a hospital bills a patient for an MRI that costs $10,000. However, they could strike a deal with the insurance company to reduce the cost significantly. If patients have questions about an expensive bill, they may want to look through the health care blue book to examine fair procedure prices.
- Avoid putting the debt on a credit card: Some patients may pay for their medical procedure on a credit card. However, this is not always the best idea. That’s because it can shift the debt burden away from the hospital and over to credit card companies. This can potentially subject patients to higher interest rates and fewer protections that usually come with medical debt.
- Other bills have more priority: While the amount owed can cause stress for some, patients have other payments that are often more urgent. Those can include mortgages, credit card bills and other living expenses. It should also be noted that medical debt is not as damaging to one’s credit score as different types of debt.
Patients should remain persistent
While paying off medical debt can take months or even years to pay off, patients have certain rights and protections available to them. Even if they face pressure from debt collectors, patients should keep pushing to reduce the price. Those looking to do so may want to seek legal counsel. An experienced and aggressive attorney can help their clients understand their rights and negotiate a payment plan that works for them.