What You Need to Know About Medical Bill Debt

by David Sung

Even for people living comfortably, unexpected medical costs can quickly dampen a financial situation, regardless of whether you’re insured or not. The continuous medical bills in your mailbox, and the phone calls to your home or workplace, are enough to scare you into living in a bubble for the rest of your life. If you find yourself wondering how to deal with a medical bill (or a pile of them), we’ve researched the following tips.

Where To Start

If your insurance won’t cover a portion of the bill, or you don’t have medical insurance, you should start in the same place − take inventory. Gather all of your most recent medical bills or contact your corresponding medical offices to get a copy of them. Then make a chart detailing all of your medical bill balances, what offices they belong to, and their corresponding due date.

Add it Up

Make a list of all your monthly expenses (rent, car payment, etc.). Based off of this list, find out the areas you can cut back (entertainment, eating out, etc.). Now, compare this total to your monthly income, and figure out how much money you can dedicate to paying off your medical bills. Divide that number by the number of medical bills you have and you’re ready to begin.

Get In Touch

Depending on the age of the bills, they are either still in the payable department of the medical institution that charged you, or they have been passed to a third-party collection agency. Find the most recent invoice for each of your medical bills, call the number listed on each one, and dial the options that will allow you to speak with a person. Collectors can’t help you if they don’t know you have a problem. This communication is the first step to a debt free life.

Agree on a Solution

As briefly as possible, tell them your situation and ask if they would allow “debt forgiveness.” Very few places will allow that, but it is worth trying. If their answer is no, ask if you can begin a payment plan and if there are any discounts they can offer you. Emphasize that you are very serious about getting this debt taken care of. If they ask you the minimum you can pay, use the number that you calculated earlier as your monthly payment. Repeat this process with each of your bills, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your terrifying medical bills can become a manageable issue.

Medical bills can be overwhelming and seem nearly impossible to manage – regardless of your financial status.  By taking inventory of your debt and communicating with your collectors, you can start to get a handle on what you owe. When you take control of your financial circumstances you can revitalize your credit health and begin to make life a lot easier.

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