Americans are facing a medical debt crisis. The amount of medical debt in the United States is around $140 billion. It’s the top source of debt collections and a leading cause of bankruptcy.
The situation is probably much worse because of the pandemic. When people face a medical emergency, their first thought is related to the financial part of it.
No one wants to face medical bills. If you’re faced with a mountain of financial bills, you may have more options than you think.
You need to know how to how to pay off medical bills. There are some creative ways to handle the situation. Freeing yourself means you can do things like repair your credit and buy a home.
Read on to learn seven tips to pay off medical bills fast.
1. Check the Bills for Errors
Did you know that almost 80% of medical bills have mistakes? The most common ones are misdiagnoses and medication administered.
Check the medical bill with the service you received. Make sure the doctor’s name is correct, as well as any procedures.
If you can, make good notes and ask a lot of questions while you receive treatment. This helps you if there are errors on your medical bill.
2. Get On a Payment Plan
The first medical bills you receive are quite a shock. The initial first steps to take depend on if you have insurance or not. If you do have insurance, contact your insurer and learn why they didn’t cover your bills.
For instance, you could have worked with an out-of-network provider. The medical provider could have improperly coded the claim, causing it to get denied.
If you can’t get the issue resolved and end up with the bill, you have to work with the medical provider to pay it off. It’s like not being insured.
Try to negotiate the bill down with the medical provider first. Ask them if you can get on a payment plan to pay off the medical debt in monthly installments.
3. Look For Grants and Other Aid
There are government programs to help you pay down medical debt. Veterans could qualify for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit, which is for long-term healthcare. You have to meet the VA aid and attendance asset limits and qualifications.
State and federal governments have medical aid programs, along with many non-profit organizations. You may have to meet certain income requirements to be eligible, but they’re worth looking into.
4. Assess Your Income and Budget
Take a close look at your finances. Examine your monthly budget and determine how you can pay off medical bills fast.
Put your income and expenses in a spreadsheet. Use a debt calculator to see how quickly you can pay off the bills if you pay a little extra each month.
Cut some expenses so you can apply a little more towards your medical debt and pay it off faster.
5. Talk to an Attorney
Were you at fault for your injuries that caused your medical bills? If you were in a car accident or got injured at work, you could file a lawsuit against the person or company that caused the accident.
This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to recover costs, but it’s worth having an attorney look over your case. You’ll need to find a good personal injury attorney.
Look for a few attorneys in your area and schedule consultations. Bring your documents and bills related to the accident or incident that caused your injuries.
Should an attorney find that you have a case, they’ll negotiate with insurance companies to reach a settlement. The settlement funds pay for the attorney, medical bills, lost income, and damages.
6. Start a Side Business
Do you need a way to pay off medical bills fast? You only have so much leeway between your income and expenses. Even if you cut your budget to the most basic expenses, you still might have problems paying off medical bills.
A productive way to do that quickly is to get a side gig where you can earn more money. You can pick up side gigs as a writer, graphic designer, or freelance in your area of expertise.
Be sure to understand the tax obligations that come with having a side gig. You can use any of the remaining funds to pay off medical bills fast.
7. Know Your Rights as a Consumer
If you made the mistake of not working with the medical provider, they could send your account to collections. This isn’t a time to panic. It is a time to know your rights because collections agencies don’t always play by the rules.
They can’t intimidate you by calling you at work after you requested them not to, threaten criminal charges, or threaten a lawsuit without a reason.
Medical bills also have a statute of limitations. This means that medical providers have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit to collect the balance.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore the bills and wait it out. You’ll end up hurting your credit. The statute of limitations is four years in some states and up to 15 years in others.
Be sure to check the laws in your state or visit a debt counseling agency for help.
How to Pay Off Medical Bills
The burden of having medical bills isn’t going away anytime soon. You have to know how to pay off medical bills in order to get your financial life in order.
You’ll want to follow the tips in this article. Do what you can to work with the provider to pay down the debt and earn extra money to pay off medical bills fast.
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