You’ve probably read or heard how health care costs are just soaring. But it’s hard to appreciate how much medical treatment costs unless you actually experience it. As an example of this, I had my gallbladder removed two years ago, which required four days in the hospital and cost $28,000. Fortunately, I had insurance and had to make a co-pay of only $500.
What to do if you don’t have health insurance
If they were hospital bills you should go to the Healthcare Resources and Services Administration website to see if the Hill-Burton Act covers the facility. This act requires nursing homes and hospitals that have received government money to provide services free or at reduced costs. While this program has not had any funding since 1997, some hospitals and other facilities are still obligated to provide free or reduced-cost services if your income falls below poverty guidelines.
Get your co-pays waived
Before your bills become past due you should write the hospital or doctor that provided the services, describe your financial situation and ask that your medical co-pays be waived. Be sure to include a copy of your insurance policy to remind whoever provided the service that the majority of your costs will be paid by your insurer.
Some of these providers will be unwilling to waive your co-pays. You should then send them a second letter stating that if they will not waive your co-pay, you need to pay off the balance owed in monthly installments of what you can afford. Be sure to explain in general how you arrived at the figure you are suggesting for a monthly payment.
If you can’t reach a solution
Unfortunately, the more medical bills you owe, the less likely it is that you will be able to negotiate a good solution. In this case, there are four other things you could do. First, you could work with a local consumer credit counseling agency to develop a debt management plan. The agency will assign you a counselor who will contact the hospital, nursing home or doctors who provided your services and negotiate with them accept your plan. Once they do, you’ll then need to write just one check a month to the counseling agency and it will pay the providers for you.
A second way to handle big medical bills is to borrow enough money to pay off all those providers with a debt consolidation loan. This may have to be what’s called a secured loan or one where you offer some asset as collateral to “secure” it. That asset will most likely be your house in the form of either a second mortgage or homeowner’s equity line of credit.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you can’t get help from a credit-counseling agency or borrow enough to pay all those medical bills, you could file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would discharge all those medical bills. While a chapter 7 would also get rid of other unsecured debts such as credit card debt, you cannot discharge some debts including student loan debt, past due alimony or child support and income taxes due. Plus, a bankruptcy will stay in your credit record for 10 years, making it difficult for you to get any new credit.
If you would rather not have a bankruptcy on your record, you could let us help you with a debt relief program. Our debt relief providers offer a simple 100% satisfaction guarantee so that that if you are ever unsatisfied with our recommended debt relief programs you can cancel at anytime without any penalties or fees.
Call our toll-free number or fill out the form at the top of the page to get started. It could be the best answer to those huge medical bills.