Thursday, August 5, 2021

Surgical Strategies To Avoid Medical Debt

 When talking about dealing with debt, especially when it comes to prevention, it’s important to be specific. Debt doesn’t simply fall out of the sky, it has causes that can be identified and fought. Medical debt is a growing problem, one that’s causing a lot of anger. The notion that someone can fall sick or injured and their choice is to either accept it or take on a lot of debt is an issue that we can all understand the injustice of. However, it can happen to anyone, including you, so here are some tips to help you avoid, reduce, and manage medical debt.

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Look over your insurance package again

The health insurance industry is rife with problems and not all of your debt is going to be cleared by choosing the right insurance or insurance provider. However, it’s still an important decision if you’re going to try and protect yourself from medical debt. You want to make sure that you’re getting adequate coverage against the kinds of health issues most likely to affect you and pay particular attention to what is omitted from your coverage. Similarly, you want to make sure that you’re choosing providers that are in-network with the health care services you are likely to use. Often, making sure that you don’t have huge deductibles will require you to pay more in premiums instead.

Know and discuss the costs before getting a treatment

The fact that declining a treatment might be a necessary step to reduce your medical bills is one that causes a lot of concern and rightfully placed anger. However, often, you don’t need to go as far as refusing treatment entirely. Make sure that you know about the prices of treatments as best as possible before you agree to it and research some of the average costs to know when you have a provider that is overcharging you. You might be able to negotiate some wiggle room with your doctor but if they frequently start from a place of higher prices than you might get elsewhere, then it could be time to switch your providers.

Get your savings together

It might not be any new idea that you can help offset your costs by saving for them in advance. You may already have some savings to help you deal with medical costs. However, are they in the right place? You might want to look at health care savings accounts, which are special accounts that allow you to contribute to your savings without having to pay any tax on them. The only caveat is that when you pull out of your savings, it has to be explicitly for the purposes of paying for health care. See if you can find any wiggle room to save aside a little extra cash and make sure it’s being put somewhere that can help you.

Take a close look at your bills

Administrative and paperwork problems, both on the side of your health care provider and your insurance provider, can lead to higher costs. This is not an uncommon experience, either. Incorrect billing is pretty widespread in the industry. For that reason, take a look at all of your bills as well as the explanation of benefits forms from your insurance. Take a closer look at whether there are duplicate charges, charges for services that you did not seek, and that your personal and insurance details are correct. You shouldn’t pay your bill until you make sure that it is correct and, if it isn’t, take it up with both your health care provider and insurance provider.

Don’t let misbehaving doctors get away with it

Sometimes, it might be your doctor or health care service provider who is, at least partially, responsible for the costs that you have accrued. If your provider has made a treatment decision that was wrongfully considered, involved some kind of mistake, or did not get your consent fully for it, they could be legally liable. Doctors are not likely to tell you when they are guilty of medical malpractice, so you need to keep your eyes peeled and be your own advocate. If you do identify malpractice, then you might be able to get them to pay the costs of any additional treatments that their misjudgment or mistakes caused.

Get help in paying

There may be options to help you pay what you owe. Many health care providers will arrange for payment plans so that you can pay what you owe bit by bit, rather than having the entirety of the loan floating over your head. Though it is not as reliable, you might also want to consider the help that some of the nonprofits out there can offer. There’s a lot of medical debt in the country so, naturally, not everyone can get direct financial assistance with thiers. However, it may be worth looking into it while you consider and plan for the other tips featured here, as well.

Pay your other bills first

Medical debt is treated differently from other debt in a number of ways. First of all, credit bureaus do not weigh it as heavily as other kinds of debt, such as credit card debt or mortgages. In fact, medical debt doesn’t go onto your credit report until six months after it has been accrued, which can offer you time to renegotiate or find a better solution. As such, if you have other outstanding debris that is contributing to financial stress, then medical debt can usually wait. Pay those off first. If you are getting called by a collector, then you can send them a no-contact letter or let them know that they cannot call you at your current number.

It might be easy to get angry or feel hopeless if medical debt rears its ugly head in your life. However, it’s important to get your head into thinking about solutions as soon as you can. There are steps you can take, you just need to layout your options.

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