Medical debt can be a confusing situation, and without understanding it, you may find it hard to get out. Thankfully, the situation doesn’t have to be bleak, and with a couple of tips, you can start to understand how you can get out of medical debt.
Debt From Rehabilitation
Many people in America will face the need for rehabilitation, and without this treatment, many could end up facing life-threatening consequences. For instance, alcohol addiction patients usually receive treatment nearly eight years after first developing their addiction. Eight years is already enough time for additional health concerns to arise from the addiction. In this case, liver damage. While those living on a budget may want to try and avoid medical debt by avoiding rehabilitation services, it’s highly advised that you don’t. If put off for too long, you could risk needing even more treatment, which can only increase the amount of debt when everything is done.
Debt From Medical Bills
When you are billed for either medical treatment or rehabilitation, the bill is treated much like any other. If a medical bill is left unpaid, the provider can try to collect the amount either directly or through a collector service. However, patients can also seek financial assistance in many cases if they are eligible due to low income.
If a payment plan or a financial aid plan isn’t set up, the healthcare provider can consider the bill past due, usually after 90 to 180 days. After this time, a healthcare provider can turn the bill over to a collection agency that will take over trying to acquire payment. If the bill is still not paid at this time, there is a possibility that a civil lawsuit could be filed that can lead to garnished wages or property seizure to make up for the amount owed.
Confusion With Medical Bills
Medical bills can be difficult to understand, and 54% of insured Americans say that they are either sometimes or always confused by their medical bills. If you’re having difficulty understanding the cost and why your bill contains what it does, don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider for clarification. Medical bills can contain mistakes, and if you’re ever uncertain about something, you should ask. Although trying to get through to a hospital’s billing department can sometimes be difficult, it’s worth taking the time to speak with them, especially if you’re afraid you’re being over-charged.
Taking Out Loans
If you don’t qualify for financial assistance or your insurance won’t cover a procedure or treatment, you can consider taking out a loan to cover the costs. This can be useful if the treatment is something that you need and cannot put off. However, it’s important to understand the interest that can come with some loans. In some cases, you may end up paying more back over the course of the loan than you would have via a payment plan with your healthcare provider. While this option can be helpful, it’s important to balance the pros and cons first.
Emergency Medical Costs
More than 27% of patients in the United States reported that they had visited an urgent care center within two years in 2016. Emergency services like this can be a good choice to help you get the help you need without too much debt. Urgent care centers are often covered by insurance, and even without insurance, they can be much more cost-effective than the emergency room for non-life-threatening situations.
If you’re struggling with medical debt, consider asking your healthcare provider about a payment plan or financial aid. If neither of these is applicable, you may want to consider consolidating everything with a loan that you can then pay back over time. While it’s not an ideal situation to be in, sometimes medical debt is necessary to ensure that you can stay healthy and continue maintaining a good quality of life.
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