When you see a breakdown of your costs on a medical bill, you might be shocked at how the expensive costs add up. Even small things, like getting an ibuprofen, help rack up a huge total. If you don’t have insurance, or your insurance doesn’t fully cover the bill, it can be difficult to pay off. Medical bills are something many people struggle to pay for, and some even refuse treatments due to the costs. This is an unfortunate reality for many Americans, where we often see people having to ration insulin and other medications they can’t afford.
If you have a medical bill you’re worried about being able to pay, here are a few ways to get it taken care of.
Ask about a payment plan
Medical bills today can easily get into five figures. If you’re like most people, that’s pretty impossible to pay off all in one go. A good option might be to ask your healthcare provider about a payment plan. Interest-free payment plans are often available for large medical bills, even though they aren’t regularly brought to the attention of the patient. An interest-free payment plan might be easier for you to tackle your medical debt.
If the initial monthly payment still doesn’t seem doable for you, you might be able to negotiate for a lower payment. Having your bill broken down into smaller payments can help you get it paid off. Paying off your medical bills monthly and on time can also help keep your credit score from falling.
Depending on your healthcare provider, you might have the chance to negotiate your bill even lower. Instead of doing a monthly payment plan, you might ask to pay a certain percentage up front and having the remaining amount dropped. Paying a percentage up front still might be a large amount of money, but you’ll at least be saving on the rest of the bill.
Check for errors
Have you really taken a good look at your medical bill? In some cases, patients can get charged for treatment they never had. It’s not uncommon for there to be billing mistakes made. Many end up paying for this simply because they didn’t realize they had these additional charges. Everyone is already aware that medical bills can be extremely expensive, so any unnecessary charges can be a huge burden. Not only can treatments you never received show up on your medical bill, you might also see duplicate charges appear. If you have insurance, you could end up finding a treatment you were charged for that should have been covered by your insurance.
No one expects you to be an expert at understanding medical billing. Even if there’s a charge you’re not sure if insurance should have covered or not, you can always call your insurance provider just to be sure. You can also call your healthcare provider’s billing manager and have them verify the charges if you’re unsure.
Request hardship assistance
If you have a low income that makes it difficult for you to pay your medical bills, you might be eligible for hardship assistance. With hardship assistance, you can get help similar to a payment plan. Your bill will most likely be broken down into payments that you’ll actually be able to pay. Some with headship assistance can also get the overall cost of their bill broken down.
Seek outside help
If you’re still unable to pay off your medical bills, you should consider getting assistance from a third party. For those who are eligible, you could have your medical bills paid for by the government, a nonprofit charity, or possibly even the hospital itself.
Low-income individuals and families could be eligible for Medicaid to help them pay off current medical bills and to help them afford medical care going into the future. Medicaid tends to require you to have an somewhat low income, but depending on how high your medical bills are, you may still qualify. Depending on the hospital you receive treatment at, you might find that they have a charity already in place to help patients pay their medical bills. Your state or local government could also offer assistance to help pay for high medical bills.
If your medical treatment was caused by something that you think might be might be a legal case, you should look into speaking with a lawyer. For example, if you were injured in an accident involving a truck, you should get in contact with a truck accident lawyer.