Resources & Tools
Medical debt is soaring in the US as healthcare costs continue to rise. A single trip to the hospital may cost thousands of dollars, and insurance – if you have it – doesn’t cover everything. When you are faced with overwhelming medical bills, it’s important to know that there are resources available and steps you can take to manage your debt and relieve the stress of your financial difficulties.
1. Review Your Medical Bills:
• Request itemized bills to understand the charges in detail.
• Verify that the services and charges are accurate.
2. Check for Insurance Coverage:
• Ensure that your health insurance has been correctly billed.
• If you have insurance, work with your provider to resolve any claim issues or denials.
3. Negotiate with Healthcare Providers:
• Contact your healthcare provider’s billing department to discuss your situation.
• Ask if they offer any discounts or financial assistance programs.
• Negotiate payment plans that fit your budget.
• If you have multiple bills with the same Healthcare Provider, ask if they will consolidate all the debt into one bill so that you can make one payment each month rather than payments on each bill.
4. Apply for Financial Assistance:
• Some hospitals and healthcare providers offer financial assistance to low-income individuals or those facing financial hardship.
• Inquire about their policies and apply if eligible.
5. Explore Government Assistance:
• Investigate whether you qualify for Medicaid or other state or federal assistance programs.
• These programs can help cover medical expenses if you meet their criteria.
6. Consider a Medical Debt Consolidation Loan:
• If you have multiple medical bills, consider consolidating them into a single, lower-interest loan.
• This can make it easier to manage and pay off your debt.
7. Create a Budget:
• Develop a budget that outlines your income, expenses, and how much you can allocate to paying off medical debt.
• Prioritize your debt in your budget.
8. Set Up a Payment Plan:
• Work with the healthcare provider to set up a payment plan that you can afford.
• Make consistent, on-time payments to reduce the debt.
9. Avoid Collection Agencies:
• Try to prevent your medical debt from going to a collection agency, as this can negatively impact your credit.
• Keep communication open with your healthcare provider about your situation.
10. Seek Legal Assistance:
• If you believe you are wrongly charged or are facing particularly challenging circumstances, consider seeking legal advice from a consumer attorney or a legal aid organization.