If you need assistance with your medical bills, you’re not alone. Each year, healthcare rates continue to soar, and with it, millions of Americans are left with heavy bills to cover their costs.
Even with health insurance, medical bill totals can accumulate. Approximately 20 percent of people with medical insurance have problems with their medical bills. Before you know it, you may be facing a high-priced battle you simply cannot win.
When it comes to wading through medical debt, it’s important to understand how the system works, and how you can work for a better outcome. These tips may help you both avoid expensive medical debt and get out from under it if you find yourself drowning in bills.
If you have questions or need advice, these resources may be of help:
- Eldercare: If you are a senior or care for someone who is elderly, Eldercare Locator may be able to help you find organizations for medical debt. They may also be able to help find coverage or assistance to prevent future issues.
- USA.gov: This resources can be used to find organizations, both government and private sector, which can help cover your bills.
- Healthcare.gov: This resource can help you get health insurance coverage.
- State human service agencies: These federal or state programs, which include groups like human resource offices, may be able to connect you with local organizations that help reduce medical bill costs or provide reduced-cost counseling. These services should be free, but organizations they connect you with may charge a fee.
- Veterans’ Affairs: For United States veterans, your local VA office may be able to help you find resources for assistance. They may also be able to help you find medical insurance if you do not currently have it. Assistance is, in most cases, free of charge.
- Benefits.gov: You may be eligible for federal programs to help with debt. Answer a brief online questionnaire at benefits.gov to find out if you are eligible.
If you’ve received a medical bill you cannot pay, you should take these steps before you sign a check.
- Inspect your bill. Look for errors. It’s possible you have an error on your medical bill. Finding and fixing errors and overcharges may save you a lot of money.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many medical providers will listen to honest offers from clients. Make sure you’re speaking with someone who has the authority to accept changes in rates. Also, be persistent. Keep calling, emailing, or writing until you’ve exhausted all measures.
- Seek out help. If these measures aren’t successful, you aren’t out of options. Several agencies and organizations may still be able to help you reduce your medical debt and provide for it.
- Call your insurance company if you have health insurance. Did they refuse to pay? Did an error from the medical provider make them not issue payment? Ask them to clarify why they didn’t pay and what could be done to fix any possible issues so they will cover the expense.
- Call your medical provider. Working with the information your insurance company offered, ask your medical provider to correct any errors and refile.