How To Pay Off Medical Bills: 5 tips For Medical Debt
Medical debt can stack up quickly, even when you have a good insurance plan. Without health insurance, it can be even worse. Letting medical bills go unpaid can lead to persistent collections callers, negative credit reporting, and even legal action. Use these five tips for how to pay off medical bills to help avoid problems.
- Assess your situation. Unfortunately, even simple procedures can generate numerous bills. There may be a bill from the doctor, one from the facility, another for labs or scans, and so on. Before you can tackle medical debt, you need to know where you stand. Collect all of your bills in one place. Most providers will send you a bill every month, so be sure to weed out any duplicates. Also, check bills against your checking account or credit card account. Match up amounts and eliminate bills you already paid. Make a list of who you owe, how much you owe, and when you owe it (or how late it is). This step when it comes to how to pay off medical bills is the most important.
- Verify your bills. Medical bills and health insurance are complicated. Even professionals can lose track of details or make mistakes. If your insurance was involved, match every medical bill to the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance company. Verify that the amount of the bill matches what your insurance says it should be. If there is a difference, ask why. There’s a chance that you have been overbilled, or that your insurance has already paid some or all of an invoice.
- Ask for an itemized bill. Many people have reported that the simple act of asking for an itemized bill caused the amount they owe to drop. Some providers generate a generic bill for services. Insisting on an itemized bill requires them to bill you for only what you used.
- Plead poverty. Call the providers and ask for the office manager or the billing manager. Ask them to look up your bill and verify how much you owe. Tell them that you have a lot of bills and you aren’t sure if you can pay them all. In this kind of situation, many doctors or medical offices will agree to reduce the bill to a percentage of the total bill in exchange for immediate payment of an agreed-upon sum. For them, they collect at least some money, and you get to pay a lower amount. It’s often a win-win.
- Ask for a payment plan. Technically, you are likely obligated to pay the whole bill upon receipt. However, medical providers know that not everyone has $800 just laying around to pay their medical debt. If you ask, most larger providers and hospitals will set up a payment plan. Remember, it’s all about cash flow. Strive to ensure that your total monthly payments are not higher than your available income.
Bonus Tip: Many medical bills allow you to pay with a credit card. Use a cash-back card and use your cash back to help pay your remaining medical bills.
If you have medical bills on your credit report and paying your medical debt has gotten in the way of getting on with your life, contact us at Key Credit Repair to discuss how we can help.