One in three Americans have problems with medical debt – that’s no small number. And the scary thing is, it affects people not only without health insurance, but also people who actually carry it.
It’s important to take control of your medical bills because, if left unpaid, they really can have long-term financial consequences.
Lexie Verndon from Kaiser Health News offers some tips that can hopefully help you avoid or alleviate medical debt –
- Attempt to negotiate the prices of service with your doctor by asking if he or she will accept the price that Medicare pays for the treatment, which can be considerably cheaper. In general, just have a conversation with your doctor about the cost and how much your insurance will cover.
- Check your bills carefully. A Commonwealth Fund study found in 2010 that approximately 9 million people received a call from a collection agency because of a billing mistake. Also, make sure your bill includes the payments from the insurance company.
- Look out for mail containing the “explanation of benefits” or EOB, which is often the most reliable way to know what you owe.
- Due to high interest rates, try to avoid paying your medical bills with a credit card.
- Don’t hesitate to ask a family member or friend to help explain the bills.
We never know when a medical emergency is going to happen, making it important to save. With enough money saved up, you may be able to withstand these impromptu medical expenses and avoid debt. The rule of thumb is to save at least three months of salary, just in case.
If you do happen to fall into debt due to medical bills, it’s important to take care of that right away. The longer you wait, the more debt will stack up. Then, after a while, the creditor may go after your wages to receive payment, garnishing 25% of your paycheck. Can you afford that? Most of us can’t.
Instead of letting that happen, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. By doing so, your debts can be discharged through a Chapter 7 or lumped into an affordable 3-5 year repayment plan through a Chapter 13.
After the process is complete, you’ll have a clean slate and a fresh start to right the ship.
At Darrell Castle & Associates, we not only want to help you get out of debt through the bankruptcy process, but we also want to help lead you to a stronger financial life. We do this by offering you access to a great 14-week program called “7 Steps to a 720.”
This program is a $1,000 value, but we offer it for free to our clients by paying for you.
“7 Steps to a 720” will teach you how to re-establish and rebuild your credit the right way by sharing tips and secrets the banks don’t want you to know.
If you have any questions or if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, you can speak to one of our experienced Memphis bankruptcy attorneys today, free of charge, by filling out the “Get in Touch” form below or by calling us at (901) 327-2100.