Options for Dealing with Medical Debt

According to a study conducted several years ago, Americans with health insurance found rising out-of-pocket expenses caused increasing financial hardships. The impact continues to affect individuals and families who delay or refuse medical treatment because of the overwhelming difficulty in paying for medical services.

 

Although a greater number of Americans have insurance today than in the past, the cost of medical care continues to be a hardship for millions of families. An NBC news report in early 2018 noted that one in five Americans faces crippling medical debt. More than 43 million Americans have medical bills that have gone to collection, and medical debt is listed as a negative factor on the credit reports of 20 percent of U.S. citizens.

Here's What You Need to Know

If you are one of those Americans trying to deal with how to pay off medical debt, here are some of your options:

Draft a Payment Plan with your doctor or clinic.
By being upfront about your payment concerns, it’s possible to negotiate a plan to pay down charges for necessary treatment over time, with an interest rate and payment tailored to your budget.
Consider a Medical Credit Card:
There are many types available, for routine exams, dental work, eye care and even long term or emergency care. If you have such a card, you pay off charges over time just as with any other credit plan.
Use Your Home Equity:
Lines of credit and loans using your house as collateral are a source of funds for homeowners. Your lender or local banker are proper sources of information.
Unsecured Credit Options:
By signing up for a credit card with a low or zero-introductory interest rate, it is possible to plan ahead. An example is planning for pregnancy and delivery. If you’re diligent about making monthly payments and have the resources to pay off the debt before a higher interest rate kicks in, these are good options for those who qualify.
Use Your 401K or IRA:
Depending on your age, plan, and specific details, it’s possible to tap into a retirement plan either by using a “hardship provision” or even by signing for a loan against your savings. In some cases, an early withdrawal from an IRA must be repaid, and there may be tax consequences, but it’s always worth checking.

Medical Loans:
This type of personal loan typically requires excellent credit, and medical loans often come with higher than usual interest rates. Although they can be an option for some, you may find more cost-effective options to pay off medical debt fast. Medical loans can be an effective way to consolidate medical charges from various providers.

Get Outside Help:
A number of financial assistance programs exist to help low and middle income families pay off medical debt. Enlist the help of a medical bill advocate or a legal clinic to help you find the right choices.
Check for Errors and Negotiate:
Look for errors in billings. Ask questions about charges. Shop for better rates if possible. Simply ask for a reduction from the hospital or clinic; many are willing to negotiate rather than having to pursue legal action for non-payment.
Demand Accountability:
Always hold insurance companies and medical care providers accountable for their actions, their promises, and their charges. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of unscrupulous medical or insurance practices.

Finally, know that mounting medical bills are not your problem alone. Act quickly and don’t give up on the search for a way to relieve the burden of overwhelming medical debt. If you are ready to wipe your slate clean of medical debt, consider selling your house. HomeGo is the largest national home buying company and we can ease your worries by purchasing your house fast for cash. Contact us to learn how.

Schedule a no-obligation home tour, or talk to a HomeGo agent today.

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