If you have had a bad accident or a serious illness, you could be thousands of dollars in debt even if you have health insurance. And if you don’t have health insurance, you could be facing more in medical bills than you could ever hope to pay. For that matter, one of the main causes of consumer bankruptcy these days is medical debt. More and more hospitals, doctors and clinics are getting tougher on people who either can’t or don’t pay their bills. They may even turn your debts over to a debt collector, some of whom flaunt the requirements of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and will make your life miserable.
Worst case scenarios
If the hospital or clinic does sell your bill to a debt collector, this will most likely end up in your credit report. This will reduce your credit score – even if you have a fairly small debt. Your medical provider could sue you and if it’s successful could put a lien on your property, seize your assets or even garnish your wages. The hospital or doctor could even decline to treat you or your family members in the future until your pay your bill or it could require you to pay upfront before you get any more medical care.
What you can do
The first thing you should do is go over all of your medical bills to make sure the charges are accurate. Hospitals and even doctors are required to process a huge amount of paperwork and errors can be made. These errors can lead to higher co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses and even higher premiums. Check to make sure you actually got the services you’re being billed for.
If you have health insurance
If you do have health insurance, make sure that the hospital or doctor did not bill you for charges that were not your responsibility. As an example of this, the hospital or doctor might bill you for the difference between the total amount of your bill and the amount that the insurance company paid on it even though your responsibility is only to make a small co-payment. If you see this has happened, fight it.
Did your health insurance pay everything it should have?
If you put in a claim and your health insurance provider refuses to pay it, go over your policy to see if you can see why it did so. In some cases, there will be a good explanation. If not, contact your client’s customer service office and ask for one. If what you find does not satisfy you, you should try to get help from your broker or insurance agency or from the administrator of your employer’s health plan – if you get coverage through your job. In the event that this doesn’t help, send a letter to the insurance company stating why you think your claim is justified. If this doesn’t work, you should be able to appeal the plan’s decision through an appeal process that will be spelled out in your plan or policy booklet. You might also want to file a complaint against the insurance company with your state’s insurance department or commission.
Would you qualify for a charity program?
If you have few assets and a low income, you might qualify for your hospital’s charity program. However, you would have to prove that you had applied for and were denied Medicaid coverage to qualify for one of these programs. Your state may require hospitals to offer you discounts if you are uninsured regardless of your income. But many hospitals will offer this discount only if you ask for it. So if you don’t have health insurance, be sure to speak up.
If all else fails
Our debt consolidation providers have been very successful in negotiating and settling medical debts. We are so sure they can help you get out of debt in a reasonable amount of time that we offer a simple 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Don’t get lost under a pile of medical bills Call our toll-free number or fill out the form you’ll find on this page to get more information about debt consolidation and how it could help you resolve your medical debts.