The costs of health care and hospitalization have been soaring every day. The price has extended far beyond what many patients can afford on their own. Even with health insurance cover, many patients are finding themselves deep in medical debt. Without a rock-solid insurance cover, any medical emergency can suck up your finances that can leave you with medical debts that you can’t honor.
From a NerdWallet analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, in the past decade, medical expenses have soared by 33%. This is in comparison to the average income growth which was 30%. This is an indication that medical costs are growing more rapidly than income.
Related Reading: Is There Medical Debt Forgiveness for the Disabled?
How Medical Debt Works
The best news is that it is possible to negotiate medical bills, even the bigger ones. If you have a chronic health issue, you can handle the resulting costs via several assistance programs. By learning how medical debt works, you can seek financial help for your medical bills and save your financial life.
When faced with medical debt, running away or failing to deal with it fast should not be on your list of options. It is advisable to explain your financial state to your health care provider or hospital with the aim of negotiating a favorable and affordable settlement. If you would like more information on how to negotiate your medical payments, check out this article by Dave Ramsey.
It is vital to note that medical debts can take a while to show up on your credit report. You can use this delay to your advantage using the 6 months or more to negotiate payments or settle your debt.
How Medical Debt is Different than Credit Card Debt
It is crucial to remember that most hospitals and health care providers do not sue as other creditors do. In addition, these health care service providers don’t refer delinquent medical debt to credit reporting agencies. However, the collection agency where the debt is referred might report.
When everything else fails, while it is not the best solution, you can put the medical bill on a credit card to prevent them from being referred to a collection agency. Pick your credit card, based on interest rates, available credit, plus other features.
Never sign up for medical credit cards or loans given through your doctor’s office without first comparing them to other credit card alternatives.
High-Deductible Medical Plans
A common alternative to incredibly-high monthly premiums for health insurance is a high-deductible medical plan. While many Americans are settling for high-deductible medical plans, there is a downside. This has ended up contributing to many more medical debts.
Though these high-deductible plans have lower monthly premiums with their elevated deductibles, this creates a whole new problem for the patient. There are cases of patients skipping medical care altogether due to deductibles that reach into the thousands of dollars.
The Bottom Line
If you cannot pay your medical bills, there is no shame in that. Regardless of how high your earnings might be or how well-insured you are, illnesses, accidents, and the country’s crazy medical economics can affect anyone.
Because such problems are beyond your control, take control of what is within your power. Ensure that your medical bills are correct and that they have not been inflated. Besides that, there is no harm in negotiating for lower bills and payment plans that are interest-free. If you are facing medical hardship and would like to know what options are available to you, you can check out this article. One aspect of medical hardship can be medical bankruptcy which is another option if you are facing medical hardship. Lastly, if the whole process seems overwhelming and confusing, it never hurts to seek help from an expert.