Three steps for dealing with significant medical bills

If you or someone in your family has had a medical emergency or long-term medical situation, you may be dealing with physical recovery and significant medical bills. Many Americans who find themselves owing thousands of dollars to medical facilities and doctors struggle to balance physical and fiscal recovery.

  1. Review medical bills for accuracy. 
    If you are facing significant medical debt, the first thing you should do is to review all of the medical bills to make sure they are completely accurate. Check dates of service, as well as the services performed and the doctors performing them. If you find anything that’s incorrect, contact the billing company to make sure it’s investigated and taken care of promptly. 
  2. Double check your insurance policy to see what bills they will cover. 
    Next, for all accurate charges, review everything to see if your health insurance should have covered it. There are some simple errors, such as incorrect billing codes, that can cause your insurance to reject the claim. This step can actually take quite a bit of time, but it’s worth it in the end, if you are able to reduce some of your debt. You may have to call the billing company as well as your insurance company, to find out how much the insurance covered and why they didn’t cover more. 
  3. Contact your medical providers to see if you are eligible for an assistance program. 
    Once you know exactly what your true financial obligation is, contact the medical providers to see if there is any assistance available. Many hospitals have access to assistance programs, and you usually have to ask to find out if you are eligible. Also discuss payment options–you may be able to negotiate a payment plan that will work for your family.

While you may consider paying off your medical debt with a credit card, that’s usually not your best option. Not only will you just be switching the debt from one creditor to another, you’ll also no longer be eligible for financial assistance or payment options from your medical billing company.