While no one wants to go into debt there are some people who end up in debt due a major illness and are forced to pay big medical bills they cannot afford. Healthcare costs are on the rise and illness could strike at any time so we need to look at how to deal with these rising medical costs and more importantly how to manage the costs of procedures that are not covered by our health insurance plans.
There are hospitals that receive money from both the state and federal government and if they do they are required to provide patients with flexible repayment options. Go to the website and find out whether the hospital offers these payment arrangements. Do not wait until your bill has been sent to collections before you take action, by that time it could be too late. What you need to do is take action now so follow these suggestions and you will be fine.
Reach Out To the Healthcare Service Provider
Send a registered letter to the doctor or hospital that rendered the medical services before defaulting on the debt. By taking initiative the service provider will be more willing to work out a repayment plan. In the letter provide an overview of your current financial condition and how you want to pay back the debt. Include with this letter a check with some earnest money to show you are genuine. The reason we recommend sending the registered letter is to make sure the creditor receives it and everything is documented to prevent a misunderstanding in the future.
Ask For Co-Payment Relief
If cannot get the co-payments waived or reduced by the insurer you need to write another letter and send it via registered mail. This letter should clearly detail how you intend to pay the balance outstanding in monthly payments. You should provide documentation on how you came up with the amounts are offering. By taking responsibility you are showing maturity and will get a more favorable response instead of ignoring these debts and leaving them go to collection.
How to Handle Substantial Debts More than Two Providers
If you owe a considerable amount of money to more than one medical service provider you need to be willing to accept some harsh realities. First, you are a victim of circumstance and this is not the end of your life it is a financial challenge and like all challenges we must choose to face them or run from them.
If the service provider is not willing to negotiate a repayment plan with you then you should consider the following options.
- Borrowing money from family and friends
- Take out a loan on your home
- Declare Bankruptcy
Good News – Most Healthcare Provides Will Work with You
Most healthcare service providers will work with their patients if the patient is proactive and is honest. By providing documentation on why you can only make the payments you are proposing and actually make the payments as promised you should have no challenges. Hospitals inflate the costs of their treatments to allow for these deferred payments. You might consider asking for a discount. There is no harm in trying just make sure if you get a discount it is in writing to prevent any misunderstandings.
Securing Funds from Alternative Sources
If you have equity in your home you could refinance your mortgage and take out some cash to pay big medical bills. The interest rates with these mortgage refinances could be lower than what you are paying now so you would enjoy a “double benefit”. Speak with a licensed mortgage professional for a qualified opinion on whether refinancing your mortgage to pay these medical bills makes fiscal sense.
Put It on Plastic
This may not be the most affordable solution but it will help you maintain your credit rating and good name. The credit card approach will give you time to make monthly payments on the outstanding balance and you could get reward points or airmiles that will take the sting out of the high interest rates you are paying.
Before you put that medical bill on your credit card you should check with your credit card provider to find out whether you can get a lower interest rate before you put the cost on the card. If you are not able to get a lower rate then look for the credit card that has the lowest interest rate and use it to put this credit card debt on.
Don’t Worry It Gets Better
While it’s not easy to pay big medical bills you are alive and it will get better over time. Think of this as an opportunity to get a new lease on life. This debt will eventually be a thing of the past just try to be more proactive and take better care of your health.