Paying medical bills isn’t easy. Healthcare expenses are out of control in the United States, leaving Americans with $45 billion in medical debt collections. The average person owes thousands of dollars, while some patients owe even more after life-saving procedures.
Owing so much money can cause a lot of stress, as it means you’re paying a healthcare provider instead of paying your other bills or putting more money into your retirement account. Even if you owe a lot of money, you can find ways to reduce your stress, most of which have to do with facing what you owe and doing something about it.
Speak With an Attorney
Not everyone would benefit from speaking with an attorney, but if your medical expenses came about after an accident, there’s a possibility that you shouldn’t be responsible for paying your medical bills.
For example, traffic crashes injure 140,000 people each year. If you were walking, riding a bike, or skateboarding and were hit by a car, the person who hit you can be required to pay your bills on your behalf. However, it does almost always require working with an attorney.
Have an insurance policy that should cover your medical bills, but you’re struggling to get the most out of your policy? An attorney can help with that too! Contact an attorney, speak with them about your situation, and not only will you get help with your bills, you’ll feel better about taking control of your bills too.
Speak With a Medical Bill Advocate
Medical bills are frustrating because they can arrive in the mail demanding thousands of dollars, but they are also stressful because understanding your medical bills can be nearly impossible. If you can’t understand exactly what’s being billed because it’s coded, you aren’t going to be able to spot inaccurate charges.
Hiring a medical bill advocate can be extremely helpful. They can help you understand your medical bills, they can spot errors, they know if your insurance has paid their fair share, and they can even negotiate with doctors and hospitals to lower the amount you owe. Just having an expert in medical billing can make you feel better, even if you aren’t able to reduce your bills as much as you would like.
Set up a Payment Plan That You Can Afford
When you’re staring at a bill that you can’t pay outright, it’s tempting to tuck it away and forget about it. The trouble is, they won’t forget about you. Eventually, you’ll start receiving calls as the healthcare provider attempts to collect the money they are owed.
It’s much better if you’re upfront from the very beginning about what you can afford to pay. Most healthcare providers agree that costs are out of control and are more than happy to work with you to set up a payment plan that you can afford. You’ll avoid collections and you’ll start seeing smaller bills in the mail, which can make you feel much better about your situation.
Discuss Expenses Before Each Future Healthcare Visit
Some of the trouble with receiving medical care is the fact that costs are so mysterious. Most people have no idea how much common procedures cost. For example:
- Colonoscopy: Average cost of $3,000
- Non-emergency ER visit: $150-$900
- MRI: Over $2,600
- Childbirth: Average cost of $19,000
- Strep test: Around $100
Don’t be afraid to refuse treatment or put off scheduling that appointment until you can talk to someone in billing who can tell you exactly how much it’s going to cost. Then, you can talk to your doctor about cheaper alternatives.
Search for Organizations That Will Help You Pay Your Medical Bills
You aren’t alone when paying your bills. There are quite a few ways you can get help paying for your medical bills.
If you qualify, you may discover that you can get Social Security or Medicaid, while CHIP is a government program just for children. You can also contact a local agency to see if you qualify for various programs that are available in your community.
Getting medical care can be stressful. Going to the doctor is stressful enough, but dealing with the bills is even more stressful. Don’t let it keep you from getting medical care in the future, and don’t let your medical bills keep you from losing sleep at night. With these tips, you can tackle your medical bills head-on, which will greatly reduce at least some of the stress in your life.