3 Ways to Reduce Your Medical Debt
Medical debt can pile up quickly after any injury or illness. Many people in the U.S. find themselves buried under bills from the hospital, even if they carry insurance. Fortunately, you have options to get help with medical bills after insurance. Check out these 3 ways to reduce your medical debt:
Take Charge and Negotiate
You may be able to reduce your medical debt by speaking with the billing office at the hospital where you received treatment. You may be able to lower your debt by offering to pay with cash. Hospitals sometimes take a significant percentage of your debt away if you pay even a portion of your bill in full with cash.
You may also be able to lower your medical costs if you can plan your treatment in advance. You can call around to different hospitals and ask about their costs for treatments. If you discover that another hospital is charging less for the service you need, you might be able to use this information to lower your bill.
Seek Financial Assistance
Some hospitals will offer financial assistance to patients who are having trouble paying off their medical debt. Nonprofit hospitals are especially likely to provide financial assistance, particularly for patients who are uninsured or only partially insured.
You may be able to take advantage of the following forms of financial assistance:
A Repayment Plan
Some hospitals will allow you to enter a repayment plan that charges 0% interest. These repayment plans do not directly lower your medical debt. However, they do allow you to pay off your debt over a period of time, without worrying about high interest rates. Make sure you ask your hospital about a repayment plan.
Medical Debt Reduction
Some billing departments will take your circumstances into account when charging you for medical services. You can contact the department directly to ask for debt reduction. In some cases, you might even have the total amount of your debt forgiven.
Make sure that you stay calm and polite when contacting the hospital or medical billing company. You will have an easier time reducing your medical debt if you try to establish a conversation with the representative instead of engaging in a feud. You should also collect information about your conversation, including:
- The Time and Date
- The Name of Your Representative
- Any Reference Numbers you are given
Consider Help from Government Programs
Sometimes, the hospital billing department cannot offer you any assistance as you work to reduce your medical debt. You may be able to get assistance from certain government programs in this situation. Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get aid from:
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
These programs may be able to help you reduce some percentage of your medical debt. You are not alone if you are facing high medical debt in the U.S. In fact, medical bills have been rising around the country since the 1960s, in some cases to incredibly high levels:
You may put these 3 strategies to work if you are looking for ways to reduce your medical debt.