Finding yourself without insurance would have put you in common company with 48.2 million other Americans in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A catastrophic medical bill could mean financial ruin if you can’t pay it in a timely fashion. You do have creative options for repayment, though, that can protect your credit and reduce the size of the bill to make it more manageable.
Check your medical bills carefully to ensure that they are correct. Go over every bill and every charge to make sure you received each service. If you find any erroneous charges, contact the service provider to resolve the bill and remove the incorrect charge.
Contact the physician or hospital to negotiate a bill reduction. Explain your financial predicament with the sizable medical bill and your uninsured status and ask a financial representative if it’s possible to reduce the bill to make it more manageable for you.
Inquire about financial assistance or charity programs available through the hospital or with the physician. If you find that a charitable program is available that can assist with part or all of your expenses, apply for assistance to receive help with the debt.
Work out an affordable payment plan to pay the medical bills. Approach the situation proactively to ensure that the physician or hospital does not pursue collection with a collection agency, because this could damage your credit rating and make it difficult to negotiate a payment plan.
Consult with a debt settlement agency that can help you approach your debtor to work out a deal. Seek guidance from a debt counselor who will help you pay off the debt and preserve your credit.
It’s advantageous to have money set aside in an emergency fund to help you pay unexpected medical bills. If you have an emergency fund, consider using all or part of it toward paying down the medical bills.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Insurance Coverage
- National Debt Relief: What You Need To Know About Dealing With Big Medical Bills
- CreditCards.com: 15 Tips for Paying High Medical Bills
- Credit.com: Medical Bill Nightmares
- Financial Service Professionals: The Importance of an Emergency Fund
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