Many people have been faced with an unexpected illness at one point in their lives. If that illness required surgery and or prolonged time away from work, the debt accrued can be considerable. For those people, it becomes a matter of figuring out the best way to pay those bills back on an extended timeline. In America, the amount of money credit companies are seeking that traces back to medical bills is surprisingly high. In fact, one-third of the total amount sought by credit companies is related to medical bills left unpaid.
If you are facing a substantial amount of medical debts, it is entirely possible to negotiate those bills to a manageable amount. However, when negotiating your bills, it is important to remember the following ideas in order to maximize your success. Follow our tips below on negotiating your medical bills.
Read Information Carefully
When you receive a bill after having a procedure done at the hospital, go over it very carefully to check for mistakes. Sometimes the wrong coding is used for a procedure and you may be billed more than you should be. You could be charged more than once for the same procedure or other mistakes, such as balances left over that should have been paid by your insurance company or expenses that should have been bundled, may be on the bill.
Look up the medical codes online to check for accuracy and then call the billing company to get mistakes corrected.
Keep Track of Conversations
For those who are attempting to work out agreements and payment plans, it pays to know who you talked to, where they were in the billing chain and when you had the conversation.
Keeping track of names and reference numbers can save you time, since you can ask to talk to the same person again the next time you are forced to call, or you can let the person you are talking to know you already discussed this with another individual at the company, and you are trying to get to the next step of handling your bills.
Be Prepared/Do Your Research
Read through your policy carefully and be aware of what is and is not covered. Likewise, before a procedure is done (provided it is not an emergency situation), look into the cost of the procedure at various local facilities in order to determine the best place to go for that procedure.
It is also important to look at the billing as the statement comes in, and for any aspect of the medical bills that should have been covered and was not, it pays to call and bring that to the attention of your insurance company.
Know the Terms
Educate yourself about insurance terms so you know what they mean and will be able to find out how much your out-of-pocket responsibilities are when you visit a doctor or have a procedure done.
- You should know what a deductible means and how it is applied to your bill
- You should be aware of what a co-payment is
- You should know what co-insurance means and how to determine if the medical provider is in or out of your insurance network
Find Out About Discounts
Ask about any discounts that you might be qualified for when you’re inquiring about the costs of a procedure. There are several discounts that may help you pay the bill, including discounts you would not be aware of unless you asked about them.
Some doctors work with charities to help patients pay their medical bills and you should check to see if you qualify for any programs in which your doctor participates.
Consider All Available Options
If you have some funds at your disposal, consider asking your hospital about discounts for paying in full within a certain amount of time following the procedure. This can drastically reduce the amount you are required to pay. It also pays to ask about financial assistance if you do not have much money at your disposal and if you are a lower-income family.
Pick Up the Phone
If you find errors on billing or are having problems making payments on medical bills, calling the billing department or pay them a visit in person. You should be able to get the mistakes rectified and the bill recalculated to find out what you actually owe. In addition, the billing department will usually work with patients by reducing payments or extending the amount of time to have to pay a bill.
Call a Bankruptcy Attorney for Help
If you have done all of the above and are still drowning in medical debt, do not hesitate to call a professional. The attorneys at SM Law Group, are well-versed in handling medical bills and negotiating for the lowest payments and shortest plans to help you get the debt paid and get on with your life. We can explore whether bankruptcy may be an option for you, or if simply debt negotiation can resolve your financial troubles.