One of the leading sources of large debt burdens by Americans today is medical bills. With meager healthcare options and high premiums, many people are underinsured, or uninsured all together. When illness or injury strikes, many people can walk away from a simple emergency room visit with thousands of dollars in debt liabilities.
Getting Financially Healthy
Unfortunately, too many of us either have or will experience crippling debt due to medical bills. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are several solutions that can help you prevent or minimize negative outcomes over a trip to the doctor or hospital.
First, look for a good insurance plan. Insurance is just that, a safety net for the unexpected. Even if you can’t afford a great coverage plan, finding a good emergency coverage plan can be affordable. Consider a higher deductible to keep monthly premiums low. This will ensure you are covered for the unexpected, but keep your out of pocket expenses low.
If you do find yourself on the bad end of some high medical bills, know your options. Negotiating with medical providers may require some time and effort, but it can result in a significant reduction in your overall debt. If you do not have insurance, request the “non-insured” rate. Often this reduces your amount owed by 40-50 percent. You can also request a payment plan. As long as you make timely payments, your account will stay out of debt collections.
Bankruptcy is also an option to find you relief from medical debts. In fact, medical debt is one of the easiest types of debt to have discharged in bankruptcy. With little recourse for garnishment or liquidation, many medical debt providers may be more willing to negotiate if they anticipate bankruptcy is your next move. If you do file for bankruptcy, medical providers will be forced to adhere to the plan laid out by the court; giving you relief from repeated calls and bill notifications.