Medical bills can be costly and difficult to pay off up front. However, the longer you put off paying your bills, the more you risk your medical debt growing. There are many options available to people who need help paying their medical bills or determining the best strategies to do so. Here are five useful tricks for paying your medical bills.
Make the Most of Your Insurance Coverage
Health insurance is meant to help make sure people can afford healthcare, but it isn’t always foolproof. How much of your bill your insurance policy will cover depends on many factors, including what type of policies your provider offers, what type of procedure or appointment was done and whether the doctor you saw was in your network or not, among other things. You will need to advocate for yourself with your insurance provider and the billing office of the medical facility you went to, take advantage of insurtech tools and know what your policy says about your coverage.
Negotiate Yourself Or Utilize an Advocate
Some people feel more confident negotiating than others. If you think you can advocate for yourself about your medical bills, do so. If not, you can seek out an advocate to do so on your behalf. Your medical bill advocate should be someone who has experience reviewing medical bills and determining how best to reduce the amount of a client’s bill. Advocates should closely study your bills and other relevant documents to determine whether errors have been made or if you have been overcharged.
Avoid Paying Bills off With a Credit Card
It can be tempting to pay off debt with a credit card, but it’s a good idea to avoid doing so whenever possible. There are several important reasons for this and they all stem from the fact that paying medical bills with a credit card simply transfers that debt from one account to another. The hospital will consider your bill paid and will be less likely to negotiate or allow you to use a payment plan. Doing so also turns your medical debt into credit card debt, which means you will no longer benefit from the protections medical debt has. For example, medical debt tends to have low or nonexistent interest fees compared to credit cards.
Take Advantage of Payment Plans
While you have the option to utilize a medical credit card or take out a loan to pay your medical bills, it can be better to choose a payment plan instead. Most medical providers will offer a variety of plans or be willing to negotiate with you to develop a personalized payment plan. Medical payment plans tend to have low interest rates and some eschew interest rates altogether. Your bill will be broken into an appropriate number of payments depending on your negotiation, the amount of the bill and, in plans such as income-driven hardship plans, your total annual income.
Speak to the Financial Aid Office at the Hospital
Most medical providers have associated financial aid offices that you can contact for help with your bills. These offices can be your source of information regarding payment plans, financial aid policies and discounts. You can also begin the process of negotiation or make sure the hospital is in contact with your insurance provider.
Dealing with medical bills and debt can cause frustration and anxiety. It’s important to remember to collect and itemize your bill, gather all other relevant information and determine who to contact for help or negotiation. As long as you stay organized and discuss all your options, you should be able to plan how to successfully pay your bills.