It’s a problem that many people have faced at some point in their lives. They have an unexpected illness or injury that requires a visit to the doctor, urgent care facility, or hospital and when they get the bill, it is higher than what they can afford to pay. In many cases, the person has no idea of how much the visit will cost or how much their insurance company will pay until long after the services are rendered. If you find yourself in this position, do not panic. Here are some tips that can help you deal with medical bills that you are unable to pay.
Review The Information For Accuracy
The first thing that you should do for any medical bill you receive is review the details of the bill for accuracy before you begin to worry how to pay it. Common errors that could occur include the wrong room rates for hospital stays, double billing, medications you didn’t receive or services that were not performed. Errors are more common than you might think, mainly because medical coding and billing is typically done by employees not directly involved in your care. Finding an error and having it corrected can reduce the amount you owe by a considerable amount. Always ask for an itemized bill so you can see exactly what you are being charged for.
Negotiate A Lower Rate And A Payment Plan
Many people do not know that you can negotiate with your medical provider for a lower rate on your medical services. If you do not have insurance, you may be charged a higher rate for your services than a person that is insured because the insurance companies use their clout to hold down their costs. In many cases, negotiations work for individual payers too.
You can also attempt to work out a payment plan that allows you to pay the bill off little by little over time. If your offer of a payment plan is accepted, you may be able to pay off the bill interest free, unlike charging the costs to a credit card, because many medical providers do not charge interest as long as the payments are made on time. The goal for both parties is to find a way to settle the bill without the provider losing money and without the payer having their credit report damaged.
Consider Assistance Programs
If you are in such a financial bind that making payments is not feasible right now, you may qualify for an assistance program geared towards helping low-income individuals afford medical care. These programs are generally reserved for those living at or below the poverty line and you may have to verify your income, or lack of, before you can receive any assistance. Many local and national charities offer medical billing assistance and your medical provider’s office may be able to direct you to one that meets your needs.