Over the last year, thousands of Americans have become members of a group that none would ever have wanted to join – the millions of individuals who are dealing with medical debt. Right here in Louisville, men and women are struggling to keep their heads above the murky financial waters of hospital bills and medication costs just to get through each day. Medical debt is a huge problem for many, and many individuals are uncertain of what rights they have to address it.
This post will offer individuals struggling with medical debt a few suggestions for dealing with their seemingly insurmountable financial obligations. It is important that readers remember no part of this post is offered as legal advice. When a debtor has a question about their options for debt relief, they can always work with a trusted bankruptcy and debt relief attorney.
Consideration #1: Medical debt may not be an urgent debt to pay off
Medical debt can be overwhelming in its scope because many medical procedures and hospital charges are exorbitant. Providers may charge tens of thousands of dollars for individual treatments, which over time can add up to massive collective bills. However, what readers may not know is that medical debt is a nonpriority debt. There is no collateral attached to it, the way there is a home attached to a mortgage. Because there is nothing that can be repossessed from a debtor, it may not be as urgent of a debt to pay down as other outstanding debts.
Consideration #2: Consider negotiating down a medical bill
Medical providers set extremely high service costs for medical exams, procedures, and treatments. However, they sometimes have different costs points for uninsured individuals than they do for the insurance companies that cover others. When a person receives a medical bill, they can choose to negotiate the cost of their bill down to get a better and more manageable total amount.
Consideration #3: Credit cards may not be a good option for medical bill repayment
Some individuals choose to put their medical expenses on their credit cards to consolidate their debts and to get medical collections’ agencies off their backs. There are laws that protect debtors from creditor harassment and steps debtors can take to end calls and contact from unscrupulous repayment entities. Their attorneys can advise them of how to take advantage of these protections.
However, credit cards may have higher interest rates for repayment than individuals’ own medical bill repayment plans. Over time, a person may end up owing more money for a bill placed on a credit card than they would have had they worked down their bill’s cost with their medical care provider. These considerations are only some of the many debtors may want to evaluate when addressing medical debt, and their lawyers can support them as they determine the best paths for their own financial health.