Showing posts with label Medical Debt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medical Debt. Show all posts

Sunday, February 13, 2022

How to Get Out of Medical Debt

Medical debt is a major financial burden that millions of people are currently struggling with. While you might feel overwhelmed by your medical bills, there are a few steps that you can take to reduce your debt, lower your payments, or even have your debt wiped out entirely.

Collect and Review Paperwork

It is an unfortunate fact that a relatively large percentage of medical bills have errors, and some studies have shown that as many as 75 percent of patients aren’t being billed correctly. 

That is just one of the many reasons why you should always review all of the paperwork that you receive from the hospital. You must also ask the hospital for an itemized list of all the charges so that you can dispute any errors.

Contact the Hospital

The next step in the process is contacting the hospital directly to discuss your bills. As long as your bills haven’t been sent to collections, you might be able to negotiate new terms with the hospital’s billing department. 

Most hospitals want to retain the debt so that they profit from it, and they could help you come up with a more affordable payment plan that doesn’t destroy your finances.

Apply for a Medical Credit Card

Acquiring a medical credit card is another option that you should consider if you can’t negotiate with the hospital. Medical credit cards tend to have very low interest rates and much lower requirements for applying. 

Some medical credit cards even offer zero percent APR for upwards of two years, and that will give you plenty of time to focus on your finances and rebuild your credit.

Consider Bankruptcy

While these other options can be very useful for some patients, there may come a point when it is time to consider bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy will allow you to restructure your debt or even wipe it out entirely, and that process should be off your record in a matter of years. 

To read more about your bankruptcy options, you should head to a reputable legal site that will allow you to learn about the pros and cons of each chapter of bankruptcy.

Ongoing debt can become a life-altering burden, and that is why many people will ignore it for years as it spirals out of control. If you have been struggling with medical debt, then it is time to come up with a long-term plan for getting out of debt and rebuilding your finances.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Insurance Guide for a Person Aged 50 Years – What Should You Include and Exclude?

Do you think your retirement is approaching? If answered yes, it’s high time you should review your health insurance policy to make sure you stay covered during your golden years. It is not that health insurance is something that that you need during your retired life as it is important during several stages of life. 

Health insurance fills the health insurance gaps which are often not covered by Medicare. Nevertheless, health insurance actually gets more and more important when people get older as after 50 years of age, there are several chronic illnesses which start developing and which also need immediate medical help.

While there are several health insurance companies like iSelect which are there to offer you the best health insurance policies in the market, it is still imperative that you compare and contrast the rates before choosing the final one. Here are few things to consider.

What should you ask yourself on health insurance since you’ve crossed 50?

Here are few questions on health insurance that you should ask yourself whenever you cross 50 years of age.

Is it necessary to alter the type of policy?

In case you own a private health policy already, you may have a family or couple policy which gives higher priorities to few treatments which were more vital for you previously. Nevertheless, if you’re still considering moving towards health insurance during your 50s, you will again require setting new priorities all over again.

Do I require any other kind of medical services?

Previously you had insurance for teeth issues but now it seems more important to have coverage on hip replacement, cataract removal, cardiac surgery and other things. You should ensure giving a close look to your health policy.

How should I make sure I get full coverage?

You might be eligible for Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card after crossing 65, this can help slash off the costs of prescription medicines and services. This insurance will make sure you stay protected in later years.

What are the services to watch out for in a policy?

Hospital coverage: When we say hospital coverage, we mean all the basics like shared or private room, public or private hospital, fees for intensive care unit, ambulance expense coverage pathology, x-rays and pharmaceuticals as well. It shouldn’t include those treatments which you will most likely never need like reproductive or obstetrics services or non-cosmetic eye surgery or transplanting of organs. 

Extra coverage: This extra coverage includes ancillary services which you will need, like for example dental, optical, physiotherapy, podiatry and other services. Similarly, here too, they shouldn’t include any services which you will never need like vaccinations during travel or gym membership fees. The benefit limits should remain individual.

Therefore, once you reach 50 years of age, you have to make sure you take the best insurance decisions so that you don’t have to suffer later on due to lack of funds during an emergency leading to medical debt.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to Make Affording Your Medicine Easier on Your Wallet

Prescription medication is expensive, and it gets more expensive every year. The good news is, there are a number of things you can do to make affording your medicine easier on your wallet. 

If you are getting overwhelmed by medical bills and prescriptions and don’t know what you should really be paying, make sure you get educated. Use these tips at the doctor’s office to help make bills more manageable and easier to understand.

Ask for Free Samples

If your doctor is prescribing you a one-time dose of medication such as an antibiotic or if they are starting you on a new medication, ask if you can get a free sample. Doctors often get samples from drug companies, especially ones that are new to the market.

If you are getting a medication for the first time, you might suggest a free sample as a way to "try it out" to make sure it works before committing to a prescription. Make sure you ask extensively about what side-effects you might experience and discuss any allergies you might have. 

Use Generic Drugs

Generic medicines are much cheaper than their brand-name counterparts, so you can save a lot of money by using them. For any drug you are being prescribed, ask your doctor to prescribe a generic if it is available. If a generic isn't available, ask if there is a similar generic drug you could use. 

Most pharmacies can help you navigate which drugs will be similar enough as well. Always ask questions and do your research. Your pharmacy will be able to help direct you to similar drugs and maybe even over the counter options that do similar things.

Buy in Bulk

Prescription medicine, like many other items, costs less if you buy more of it at once. If your health insurance company offers mail order or bulk purchases, you can save money by buying more than a one-month supply of maintenance drugs you take every month, such as asthma medicine you need refills of often. 

Ask your doctor to give you a prescription for three months, six months, or even a year at a time. If your insurer doesn't offer a mail order option or you don't have insurance, ask your pharmacy if it offers discounts for bulk purchases. There are many ways you can buy in bulk so shop around to find an option that works best for your lifestyle. 

Shop Around

You would think all medicines cost the same at every pharmacy, but that's not always the case. When you get a prescription, you should call around to different pharmacies to see if there is a price difference. 

If you wind up going to a different pharmacy, you might save even more money because they can give you discounts or rebates for switching a prescription to them.

You might also go to an alternative clinic like the ICE, Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence who do their own billing. Talk to them to see what kinds of billing options are available. 

You can often break up bills and find ways to finance with your clinic so you have a system that works best for you. Just asking can help you find ways to save in the long run. Don’t be afraid to ask and get tips for how to finance from others in your position. 

Prescription medication is not cheap, but it doesn't have to break the bank, either. By following these tips, you can ensure you don't pay more than you absolutely need to, which makes it easier to afford your medicines.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hospital Stay: What You Should Know About Rising Medical Costs

Despite the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which includes the expansion of coverage under the Medicaid program and increased protections for seniors on Medicare, health care costs continue to increase with no relief expected in the near future. 

Fortunately, patients can do many things either on their own or with the assistance of others, to greatly reduce the cost of a stay in the hospital. In some cases, reducing costs may come down to simple persistence by the patients themselves. 

Use Preventative Care

The first and most effective way to avoid expensive medical bills is to use preventative care to help your health. Make sure you have a good exercise regimen in place, and you get enough sleep each night. 

A simple change in lifestyle like a healthier diet and new fitness routine can mean the difference between contracting illnesses and being at risk for many more. When you feel you are getting sick, make sure you take time off to rest and recover.

Of course there are some things even preventative steps can’t foresee like an accident, rare disease, or genetic condition. In this case, it is best you follow some of the steps below to make sure you are covered. 

Do Some Hospital "Shopping"

The increase in medical costs have been linked to many factors, including the use of more expensive equipment to diagnose and treat ailments and larger settlements in malpractice cases. 

However, these issues do not fully account for the disparities in costs between hospitals that may be in close proximity.

Shopping for health care may not always be possible, but seeking the lowest costs for elective or anticipated procedures can greatly reduce your medical bill. One study showed that the cost of the same procedure in one hospital was 10 times that in a facility located in an adjacent community. 

Consider Negotiating the Cost

It is important to know the estimated cost of a particular procedure before trying to negotiate the price. This information is often available from insurance providers.
In the actual negotiations, you should mention any particular hardships. It may even be possible to negotiate the cost after the procedure has been performed.

Avoid Unnecessary Procedures

Lowering the cost of your treatment may be facilitated if you attempt to reduce or eliminate services that you and your doctor consider unnecessary to your situation. 

You may also consider having a particular procedure done on an outpatient basis. You should also make sure you were not billed for something that was not provided, such as the visit of a specialist that never took place.

Seek Help From Others

Your personal physician can provide you with considerable advice about medical procedures and their costs, but you may also consider turning to a medical billing advocate. 

These specialists can help ensure that you get what you pay for. In the event that you have been cheated or even physically harmed by a medical facility, you should consider turning to the services of a medical malpractice lawyer like McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C.

An attorney can help ensure that your rights as a patient are protected, and you receive the financial compensation to which you may be entitled. 

Getting the treatment you need sometimes depends on the cost, but it shouldn’t have to. There are many ways you can lower medical bills and get a better price on insurance coverage or payment plans, you just have to know how to negotiate your case. 

Use these tips to help find a way to decrease your debts, while still getting the treatment and medicine you need.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Debt Management: Is Settling Right for You?

You've probably heard the claims of companies able to "settle your debt for pennies on the dollar." If you feel like you're drowning in debt, that probably seems like an attractive option. Though the financial relief that comes from no longer having your debt is a huge step forward, the hit that your credit score will take may make you change your mind. Carefully consider all of your options before you make a decision to settle debt.

Debt Settlement Companies

A debt settlement company acts as an intermediary between you and the companies to which you owe money. They'll ask you to stop paying your bills and send them a monthly payment, instead. Part of this monthly payment is a fee to the company, and the other part goes into an escrow account for making the settlement. The settlement company will then contact your creditors and offer to make a settlement.

Perhaps the biggest downside to this method is that you're actively ignoring your bills without telling the creditors what you're doing. All of these missed payments will go on your credit report, where they will stay for seven years. As your payment history accounts for almost 35% of your credit score, even a single delayed payment can drastically lower it. This can be especially devastating for those with good credit. However, the debt relief that can come from settlement is significant and may be the only option for one who has found themselves deep in debt. A bad credit score can be recovered, while debt may increase over the years if it is not taken care of early on. 

DIY Debt Settlement

Another option is to eliminate the middle man and contact your creditors by yourself. To do this, you need to be able to pay the settled amount immediately, so save up a chunk of money or use your tax refund. When you have that money saved up, call the company and make them an offer. Like working with a debt settlement company, this method typically works better when you've missed several payments. At that point, the creditor may have written off your debt, or feel that it's better to take whatever amount they can get. This method may work better on debt that came from a sudden unexpected expense, such as medical expenses. Those who have incurred debt over time, as is often the case with student loans, would do best to seek professional financial advice for their settlement.

Not everyone is equipped to handle their own settlement. Unless you have considerable financial knowledge (and, preferably, a legal background), you should seek professional advice before you go forward on settling your own debts. When it comes to debt and money management, a small mistake can end up costing your for years to come. 

Impact on Your Credit

Not paying your bills has a huge impact on your credit score, and in order for debt settlement to work, you usually have to stop making payments for a while. For example, a payment that's 30 days or more late can reduce your credit score by 50 points. When a payment is delayed even longer—and you have more than one account that's reporting late—the results can be even more significant. The company will also report that you've settled to the credit bureaus, which some might perceive as a risk.

Debt settlement can work for many people, while others should look into other options. Consulting with a financial advisor, who can assess your unique financial situation, is the best way to know where you stand and what option is the right one for you.

Informational Credit to Hudson & Company Insolvency Trustee Inc.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Medical Issues Can Ruin Good Credit

This is a guest post by Ed O’Brien. This is his third time writing for 50PlusFinance and we always appreciate his insightful perspective.

Many people mistakenly believe that paying doctor and hospital bills is not as important as paying other expenses. However, medical bills are typically reported to the credit bureaus just like any other debt. Unpaid medical debts can cause big problems in your financial life very quickly. Plus the stress of debt on top of poor health can be a dangerous combination.

Medical Bills Matter
Doctors and hospitals will report unpaid bills on your credit report which leaves black marks against your good credit. Unfortunately because medical bills will often pop up unexpectedly and can get quite expensive, debt can easily start spinning out of control. Add to the situation your inability to work and earn and income and a life-long struggle may be ahead to get back on financial track.

Consider also that medical debts you are not paying may eventually go to a debt collector who will be more aggressive in collection efforts and also add black marks to your credit score. Even with insurance, medical costs are high these days and are projected to only go higher in the future.

Staying Above Water with Medical Costs
In order to avoid major debts heading into your retirement years, it is better to prepare for the unexpected as soon as possible. The more you prioritize your plans for what may happen in the future, the more you are able to safely navigate the financial waters when your health makes a turn for the worse.

Here are some ways to get yourself in order before something should go wrong:

Understand Insurance Coverage
Most people will chose insurance coverage based more on price than benefits. Others who receive affordable insurance through their employers often have no clue what they even have. It is important for you to understand what kind of benefits you are paying for long before something happens. You will likely make wrong decisions concerning your health and treatment when you remain unsure about the financial side of things. Review your policy information and contact the insurance company for explanations on anything you don’t understand.

Contribute to an Emergency Fund

Financial experts urge consumers to sock away between 6-12 months worth of living expenses in a good interest-earning account. This money should be allowed to earn interest and should only be used during times of true emergencies, including health concerns. If you can’t work due to a work injury or medical illness, an emergency account may be your only viable resource. Contribute to the account monthly. You may even consider setting up automated deposits from your payroll department. What you do actually see will likely not be missed. It will allow you to build a significant stash of cash for when you need it.

Live a Better Life
Many health conditions that break us are actually of the preventable variety. Eating better and getting regular exercise is important. Sedentary lifestyles can trigger all kinds of expensive medical conditions including unhealthy weight, high blood pressure, depression, and heart problems among many other things.

Organize Your Life
If medical treatment requires you to be treated in a hospital for a period of time, other people will be relied on to get your important documents the hospital might need. Always keep relevant health information, including updated health insurance policy information in an accessible and clearly marked folder for easy retrieval.

Ask for Assistance
If you anticipate having issues paying your medical bills even if you have insurance, it is wise to contact your medical provider’s office right away and keep them informed of what is going on with your situation. Many will work with you on new payment arrangements that will keep you out of collections until the debt is satisfied. If you do not communicate, your bill will likely be expedited to the collection agency.

If you don’t have insurance or have a co-pay you can’t afford, speak with the medical provider’s office on the day of your visit and explain the situation. Many times doctors will allow for discounts or will waive service fees for their loyal patients. The worst that can happen is they turn you down with a ‘no’. At least you tried all available resources to save money.

Ed O’Brien is a seasoned writer in personal finance, specializing in credit repair. You can find more of his articles located at

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