According to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data, 43 million Americans owe medical debt. Making heads or tails of the medical bills can be even more intimidating than going to get a check-up in the first place.
Yahoo News offers four ways to make your medical debt manageable.
Negotiate your bill
“All medical bills are negotiable. Emergency room bills, bloodwork bills, biopsy bills, X-ray bills, all of them. If you can, find out exactly what procedures you’re going to have done beforehand and research the average cost. Bruce McClary of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling suggests the Healthcare Blue Book.”
Set up a payment plan
“If you get a huge hospital bill for tens of thousands of dollars, you might freak out wondering how you’ll ever pay it. Even if you have a hefty emergency fund, a $20,000-plus medical bill can shock you. After you’ve negotiated your bill down — or at least tried to — ask your doctor’s billing office to set up a payment plan.”
Ask for help
“There are nonprofits and charitable organizations out there that can help you pay for medical expenses if you can’t on your own. Your local church, mosque or synagogue might have their own resources available to you or could know of other organizations.”
Don’t lose focus on other obligations
“You probably owe student loan debt, maybe a mortgage or a car payment, and some credit card debt, and those all have their own financial obligations. Try not to let your medical bills get in the way of paying off other things. Look at your budget, and try to find a payment plan with your doctor that won’t throw things way off track.”
For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.