When you have medical bills, it can seem daunting when thinking of paying them off. Sometimes the way to pay off medical bills isn’t as clear cut as other debt such as a mortgage or auto loan. With medical debt, there is more room to negotiate the terms of repayment and possibly to reduce what you owe.
Don’t make the mistake of paying your invoice the way it is. You should always review the charges and compare them to what your insurance covers. You can always try to negotiate the cost. It may not reduce your amount owed, but it is worth a try. After you have negotiated and know for sure how much you owe on your medical bills, it may still be challenging to pay it.
The following are a few options that could be beneficial to you.
Payment Plan for Your Medical Bills
Many medical providers, such as doctors, dentists, therapists, or surgeons, are willing to work out repayment plans. A repayment plan is one of the best ways to resolve medical bills. It is simple and easy. You should be able to come up with a plan that you can afford to get your medical bills taken care of promptly.
Typically, you will break the total amount owed into monthly payments until you’ve paid off your balance. Be sure to ask if other charges will be added to the payment plan, such as billing charges or additional fees.
Medical Credit Card for Consolidation
Another option that might work for you is a medical credit card. Many doctors will have applications on hand for medical credit cards, especially when it involves specific procedures.
Some medical credit cards are even interest-free for a certain period, usually six months or twelve months.
If you can pay off the debt in that time, you will not have to pay interest. If you don’t think you will be able to pay the debt off before that time is up, you will need to do the math after the interest kicks in to make sure that it is an affordable option for you.
Personal Loans for Consolidation
Sometimes a personal loan may be necessary to make sure that you pay off your medical bills without being late. With a personal loan, you should be able to consolidate medical debt from more than one provider.
This way, you are making one monthly payment instead of multiple obligations every month.
You shouldn’t consider a personal loan until you have ruled out the possibility of a medical payment plan or a medical credit card.
Personal loans range from $1,000 to $100,000. A personal loan might be your best bet if you have a lot of medical debt.
Medical Debt Hardship Plan
If your income is low and your medical bills are high, you may qualify for a hardship plan. A hardship plan is similar to a payment plan. It will break your payments up into smaller, more manageable payments.
A hardship plan may also help you to reduce the total that you owe. Talk to your medical provider to see if they offer these kinds of programs and to see what the terms are.
Negotiating with a Collector
Sometimes, we have no choice but to let the medical bills go to a collection agency. After that happens, collectors will call. You may be able to negotiate with the collector to get what you owe reduced.
They likely bought your debt from your medical provider for less than you owe, so you have a good chance in settling with your collector for less. You may be able to negotiate best if you offer to pay the bill in a lump sum at a lower cost.
Hire a Medical Bill Advocate
If you have exhausted all other options, you could consider hiring a medical bill advocate. A medical bill advocate is a person who will negotiate your medical bills on your behalf. Advocates are experts in medical billing. They know how to read medical bills, insurance policies, and understand the typical costs for procedures and treatments.
A medical bill advocate will be able to spot any error on your invoices. They will help prevent overcharging and get your bills down to as low as possible. You would need to make sure that the fees they charge will be made up for the amount of money they will save.
Having medical bills is not enjoyable but, at times, can be unavoidable. Make sure you do your research and find the best ways to make sure your medical invoices get paid on time so you can avoid penalizing late fees and possible credit damage. Contact a knowledgeable consumer rights attorney to fight back if you have been overcharged or mistreated by medical businesses.