How to Escape the Jungles of Debt
You CAN Pay Off Medical Debt
December 23, 2020 by Chevron Federal Credit Union
“How am I going to pay for this?” After we’re sick or injured, many of us have more to worry about than just the healing process. Even with health insurance, hefty medical bills can be just as agonizing. But you don’t have to suffer, you can treat your financial pain as well. Here are four ways that can make paying your medical debt more manageable.
1. Check the bills
From inflation to clerical errors, looking over bills carefully can save you money. If you have health insurance, it is also a good idea to make sure your insurance company paid for everything they should have. If an insurance company denies a claim, the medical provider will just bill you, even if the treatment is covered under your plan.
Most insurance companies allow you to appeal decisions, and if you submit evidence to support why the treatment should be covered, like a letter from your doctor, you may be able to have the denial overturned.
2. Ask for a repayment plan
Most medical providers will allow you to make smaller payments until the bill is paid off and, in many cases, won’t charge interest. Know how much you can afford to send each month, and let the medical provider know.
3. Look for assistance
Many hospitals get government funds and donations to cover the bills for patients who cannot pay them themselves. Talk to your hospital’s billing department or financial counselor about what programs they have. Remember to find out what the application procedure and qualifications are – often assistance programs are restricted to people who owe above a certain amount, have income below a certain limit, and/or have no medical insurance.
4. Create a plan for the future
No one enjoys thinking about future medical bills, but having a plan prior can save you a lot of headaches. If your employer offers it, one option is to set up a flexible spending account. At the beginning of the enrollment period, you tell your employer how much you want withheld from each paycheck and sent to your account.
Another option is qualifying for a health savings account. Like with a flexible spending account, the money contributed to a health savings account is not taxed. However, you do not lose the money that is left over in the account at the end of the year. In order to qualify, you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan.
Some of us would rather deal with the pain of an injury or illness rather than potentially back breaking medical debt. But you don’t have to choose one or the other. You have the capabilities to treat your physical and financial well-being. You CAN pay off medical debt!
BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.