Medical Debt is now one of the top five causes of bankruptcy in the United States (2015).  There are some steps that you can take to help avoid medical debt that you can’t afford:

1.  Find a High Deductible Health Insurance plan that offers lower monthly premiums instead of going without insurance.  Many people feel they can’t afford insurance, but getting sick or hurt can lead to large medical bills that you can’t pay.  A higher deductible won’t help cover office visits, but it will help to reduce the debt you owe if something major happens.

2.  Pay only what you owe.  Medical bills show up in your mailbox sometimes before the insurance company’s Explanation of Benefits statements.  Don’t pay your bill until you know what the insurance company is paying toward each charge.  Check for billing errors from the medical provider.  Many times things are ‘coded’ incorrectly and those charges may not be yours.  Question anything you don’t understand in case of errors.  Overpaying the medical provider and trying to get reimbursement is time consuming and many times they want to offer you “credit” instead of reimbursement.  Credit doesn’t work if you don’t end up using the provider again.

3.  Work out a payment plan.  If you can’t pay all of the charges at one time, ask to set up a payment plan to pay off the charges.  It’s always better to deal with the situation than avoid it.  This will also keep you out of collections, which will affect your credit.

4.   Establish an emergency fund.  Having a fund for the unexpected can help offset medical expenses.  In addition to helping with medical expenses, it can also assist with any major expense negatively effects your ability to manage your monthly costs.

5.  Know what type of care is covered and at which medical facility.  Most plans have providers that they pay and then there are those they do not.  Make sure you know who is “in-network” so that you don’t end up with large expenses that won’t be covered by your insurance company. In some situations, the facility may be covered, but not necessarily the physician treating you.  If you do need a procedure, checking prior to the procedure on all of these details may save you thousands in expenses.


This update has been provided by Fresh Finance.