Medical Debt is very common nowadays and unfortunately, the underprivileged communities are affected a lot. Throughout the year due to high inflation the purchasing power of the common people is decreasing drastically. Having proper medical care is a right of every human being.
Paying off medical bills is not as easy as dealing with other kinds of medical bills. Here in this article, we will evaluate the common reasons behind the high medical Debt and how we can reduce them effectively. But first, let’s have a quick look at what exactly is medical debt.
What is Medical Debt?
Medical Debt is pretty much different from other kinds of Debt. It is defined as a Debt incurred on any person who availed of any medical treatment from any medical service provider.
Impact of Medical Debt
Medical Debt is not only associated with financial liability. But various studies suggest that it can also impact the overall health condition of an individual. Like if an individual is facing some medical debt, this financial strain can restrict him to avail of further medical care. Which itself is alarming.
It has been seen that debt is also associated with negative health behaviors due to mounting stress. The person may start smoking, adopt other kinds of bad habits or start consuming low-quality food.
If you are a credit card holder then you can damage your credit card history and those low credit scores ultimately put you at credit risk.
6 Options To Reduce Medical Debt
Following are those options that can help you to reduce the medical Debt.
Create a Payment Plan
You can create a payment plan with your health service provider. The payment plan will help you to divide the amount you owe to the service provider. Which surely you can’t afford to pay in a single bill.
The amount of payment you can give to your service provider each month will depend on the amount incurred on you and on the terms and conditions of that particular health care system. The payment plan is one of the best solutions available to avoid medical debt.
Check Your Bill Again
Before paying for the bill you have to check it out again. Because there are chances that the health care center charges you for the services they never rendered. So try to verify the bill before planning to pay. While if you are having the services of any insurance company then you can also cause them to confirm that amount.
Take Medical Insurance Plans
Having insurance plans can give you an advantage. Get yourself insured and read all the insurance terms and agreements carefully. Also read out about your insurance coverage. There are some procedures and treatments which are usually excluded from the general insurance agreement. So you have to make sure about the treatments which are the parts of your insurance coverage.
Avail Medical Credit Cards
As a patient, your first priority is to make an efficient payment plan with your health service provider. But if somehow you fail to negotiate for the payment plan then you can also avail advantage of medical credit cards.
These medical credit cards are issued for specific medical purposes usually for emergency situations. Allowing many patients to get immediate medical care when needed.
Many medical credit cards are interest-free for up to a 12 months period so if you are planning to apply for a medical credit card then you should make sure that either you are capable of paying your debt within the given time period or not. In that case, the medical credit card would be the best option for you to avoid medical Debt.
Take Assistance from a Medical Billing Advocate
Having a medical Billing advocate can also help you to reduce your medical debt.
Those billing advocates are experts in understanding the actual cost of any medical procedure.
So you can hire them to negotiate with the health service providers on your behalf. A good medical billing advocate can also help you to set up a good plan to get rid of your medical debt.
Reconcile to the Service Provider on your own
In that case, if you don’t want to take assistance from the medical billing advocate then you can also negotiate on your own with the health service provider. For that purpose, you have to be fully aware of all the regulations, treatment procedures, and costs. Also, go through your medical bills and detect any charges that look inaccurate.
Apply for Income-driven Hardships Plans
The income-driven hardship plan is exclusively for those individuals in the country who fall into the low-income category. Many health care units have financial assistance programs that help people to manage their medical expenses. Talk to your healthcare provider to confirm your eligibility in that scenario.
While on the other side the income-driven hardship plan can also help you in making a payment plan similar to the plan we have discussed previously.
Medical Debt reduces options for Senior Citizens
It is estimated that an immense amount of people aged above 65 are living with chronic disease. These senior citizens required special medical assistance and in that phase of their life, no one wanted to get a medical debt.
The US government has designed many programs, especially for these people. State health insurance assistance programs (SHIP) Medicare, and Medicaid programs are examples of it.
The Medicare and Medicaid program is designed to give citizens proper healthcare and also they work in reducing their medical debt through insurance assistance. While the SHIP is the state-organized program that offers counseling and assistance to the recipient of the above program and they also help them to overcome their medical debt.
Paying off your medical debts is not always easy for every individual. While throughout the article we have discussed how it can cost you a lot if you are not seriously considering it. The best way to tackle medical debt is to negotiate with the professional. You can also benefit from a no-interest payment plan and federal relief plans if you are eligible for them.