Medical bills are one of the leading causes of Houston bankruptcy filings. Medical debt plagues the chronically ill and elderly more than the average family. There are two sides to the medical debt problem. Learning the strategies for managing medical debt properly can make all the difference in avoiding financial disaster.
Managing Medical Debt
People often end up behind a stack of medical bills before taking control healthcare costs. In fact, there are ways to ease this burden before bills pile up.
The first step to managing medical debt is to know your policy inside and outside. Healthcare policies are full of details that can be missed. Often,people don’t take the time to read up on them. Know your deductible, co-pays and cost shares before seeking out a procedure. This is especially important for elective care visits. These types of visits often leave you with a portion to pay out of pocket. Make sure you can afford your portion ahead of time.
Check in with your health care carrier often to keep up with your deductible to ensure you know how much you may be responsible for if you were to need an emergency room visit. If you haven’t met your deductible yet, you can negotiate a payment plan upon arrival of the ER or selective care visit to avoid getting stuck with a large bill after the treatment.
Once you have received treatment providers will expect payment in full. However, you do have the right to ask for a payment plan arrangement. Medical providers would rather negotiate a payment plan with you than risk a write-off, you just have to take the time to contact them. Determine what you can afford to pay each month and offer an automatic payment each month. They may try to require you to “pay in full in 6 months”. The truth is they cannot legally force you to adhere to that time frame.
Managing medical debt after you are drowning in bills can seem overwhelming, but ending up in collections and damaged credit is far more stressful than taking the time to prepare for your medical costs or negotiate them ahead of time.