What Financial Recourse Is Available If You Have Mounting Medical Bills?
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident or if you have a chronic illness, you might face mounting medical bills – and the prospect of a ton of personal debt. Hospital bills can easily cost thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars. And even if you have insurance, your policy may not cover everything – and you could be on the hook for your full deductible.
More than two-thirds of people filing for bankruptcy describe medical issues as a key contributing factor to their financial plight. But there are steps you can take to avoid this ultimate financial destination – and with the right plan in place, you might be able to resolve your medical debts altogether.
Follow Treatment Plans and Attend Follow-Up Appointments
First, make sure you’re following your treatment plans and attending your follow-up appointments. If you’re worried about medical debt, you might be tempted to skip your next appointments or stop receiving medical attention altogether. While this might stave off the onslaught of new bills for a period of time, it may also jeopardize your health; if you’re not careful, you could completely compromise your recovery and end up needing even more medical attention, costing you more money in the long run.
Use Your Insurance Wisely
If you have a health insurance plan in place, it’s important to use that plan wisely. Figure out which care providers are in your network and prioritize seeing them. If you visit a care provider outside of your network, or one that isn’t approved by your insurance policy, you could end up paying much more for your care. It’s also important to know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t – so you can make smarter decisions about the care you receive.
Consider a Lawsuit (and Pre-Settlement Funding)
If you’re in the hospital because of a personal injury you received because of someone else’s negligence, consider filing a lawsuit. If your case is successful, the negligent party could be held legally and financially responsible for your recovery. The settlement you receive could cover not only all your medical costs, but compensation for your lost wages and pain and suffering as well.
The only trouble here is that it can take weeks or even months before you receive your settlement. That’s why pre-settlement legal funding exists; if your application is approved, you could get an immediate influx of cash in the form of a settlement advance. You can use it to pay off your medical bills (and other bills), then repay the loan whenever your settlement officially comes in.
Plus, if you don’t receive a settlement, you won’t owe anything at all. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions before applying; some providers may charge you a compounding interest rate. Fortunately, Capital Now Funding only charges a fixed one-time fee which means there is zero interest and your payoff is fixed for the life of the case.
Talk to Your Hospital and Care Providers
As your medical bills begin to pile up, take the time to talk to your hospital and healthcare providers. There may be viable options available to help you pay your debts.
- Assistance programs. Some hospitals have financial assistance programs designed to help people pay off their medical debts and afford the care they need. If you have a certain income level, you may qualify for financial assistance through these programs. You may also be able to set up a long-term payment plan that reduces the amount you owe now.
- Billing mistakes. Be sure to review your bills for any potential billing mistakes. We’re all human, including medical staff, and sometimes, catching a simple mistake could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
- Simple negotiation. You can negotiate most things in life, but most people don’t realize you can sometimes negotiate your medical bills. In some cases, hospitals charge patients the “chargemaster” rate – an artificially high sticker price designed to improve negotiations with insurance companies. Simply explaining your situation and asking for a reduced rate could motivate them to reduce the rate they’re charging.
- Persistence. Remain polite and patient as you continue talking to your medical care providers, but remain persistent. If you keep pushing for more forgiving prices and more flexible payment options, you’ll end up making progress.
Pay Off Your Debts Smartly
As you begin to pay off your debts, be smart about the process:
- Don’t use a credit card. It’s tempting to use a credit card to pay off your medical bills, but this is simply going to trade one problem for another. Credit cards are typically associated with high interest rates, which can increase the amount of money you owe rapidly and put you in a worse financial position.
- Be careful with loans. Similarly, you’ll need to be careful with the loans you take out. Again, you don’t want to be stuck with high-interest rate debt. This is why we suggested pre-settlement funding. These loans are non-recourse and you only have to pay them back if and when the case settles.
- Prioritize other bills. Your medical bills are important to pay, but they shouldn’t be your highest priority. If you’re forced to choose between paying a medical bill and, say, your mortgage and utility bills, prioritize your mortgage and utility bills. Your medical bills can wait.
- Keep debt collectors at bay. Debt collectors can be aggressive and disruptive, but they’re bound to a strict code of conduct. Simply sending a no-contact letter could be all you need to keep them off your back (at least temporarily).
Find Additional Help
If you’ve followed the tips in this guide and you’re still struggling to make ends meet, consider seeking additional help. For example, through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, you can find a counselor who can help you understand your financial position – and possibly serve as an advocate to help you lower your bills and financially recover from this situation.
Are you facing medical bills because you’ve been injured in an accident? Are you seeking a personal injury settlement? If so, pre-settlement funding could give you immediate access to the settlement you’re going to receive in the future. Apply now or contact us to learn more!