Families may be facing higher medical bills with lower incomes this year. This can lead to potentially insurmountable medical debt. You can take some steps to limit this debt.

Credit cards

Avoid the temptation to charge medical debt to your credit card. This may get you out of debt with your medical provider but can lead to higher debt and interest charges.

Review bills

Immediately review and medical bills for accuracy. With the current crisis, hospitals may be more prone to make billing errors like charging for services that were not provided or charging twice for a service that was given once.

Contact the hospital for an explanation of any questionable billings before you pay. Ask the insurance company if there were any services that should be covered. Request corrected copies of any bills containing errors.

Health savings account

A health savings account is a special bank account where money is kept for medical expenses. Deposits into an HSA reduces taxable income this year. Withdrawals to pay for medical expenses are untaxed.

Individuals can contribute an HSA if they have a high-deductible insurance plan which is at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for families. They may use an existing HSA even if they no longer have a qualifying insurance plan.

An HSA may cover costs if you regularly made deposits. Even if it does not cover all costs, an HSA may reduce medical bills.

Work out a plan

Hospitals may agree to a monthly payment plan if you are unable to cover your bills all at once. This provides time to pay down debt without using credit cards.

Balances may be negotiated if you think you were overcharged. Hospitals may also agree to a discount or other payment options.

Do not put off payment. Paying some of your bill up front shows good faith, reduces your balance and may help negotiations.

Personal loan

A personal loan may be more affordable than credit card debt if you cannot negotiate a payment plan. Interest rates can be high but stay fixed. Monthly payments avoid increasing balances.

Monthly rates depend on the interest you receive which is based upon your credit score and how much you may borrow. An origination fee will be charged.

This debt may become uncontrollable, however, in unpredictable times. Attorneys can help you pursue legal options such as bankruptcy.