Most everyone has medical bills. In many cases, their health insurance picks up the tab, so to speak, minus the copay and perhaps a deductible. Most people can work these smaller medical expenses into their budget. Larger medical bills, on the other hand, are a different debt. They do not come from your traditional type of lender, such as a bank, and they can put you in debt quickly with just one bill.
Often, this debt comes on unexpectedly, as a result of a medical emergency or unexpected health issue.
The good news, there are ways to deal with large medical bills, including questioning costs, and setting up a payment plan.
There are a couple of ways you can question costs.
Get Information. The first thing you should do is research and prepare yourself with price range data. This way you will have some knowledge to begin a discussion. Check the website of your insurance company. Most insurers allow their members to view their negotiated rates.
You can check other websites too like Healthcare Blue Book or New Choice Health to get an idea of the figures and see how much doctors and hospitals are charging. You can even get a sense of the average discount amount that insurers get.
Review Your Bill. Medical bills, like any other bill, may contain clerical errors that lead to overcharges. Make sure to review your bill to ensure you understand all charges and they are accurate.
Set Up a Payment Plan
If it is not possible to pay your medical bill immediately, see if you can set up a payment plan. You can often negotiate monthly payments that are reasonable and fit within your budget with your provider. Since the provider only wants their money, they typically don't charge interest on payment plans. When you work out a payment plan with your medical provider, it should not adversely affect your credit score.
When setting this payment plan, be sure you set the monthly payment amount to be under what you can afford. Higher payments are easy to get behind on, and it could take just a single missed payment to violate your agreement.
If you cannot get the doctor or hospital to work with you, you can enlist the help of a professional or nonprofit to work on your behalf. They have experience working with larger institutions like hospitals to get debt cleared or discounted.