Quantcast
What To Do If You Have Medical Bills You Can't Afford
Getty Images

What To Do If You Have Medical Bills You Can't Afford

Medical debt spares no one.

Finance

Medical debt spares no one, regardless of age or education status. Even those who are financially stable are facing medical debt. Actually, over 50 percent of Americans who have medical debt don't even have other types of debt on their credit reports. The fear of medical debts can prevent people from seeking the medical care they so desperately need, which can be dangerous. This fear is common because about one-third of Americans admitted to postponing medical care to spare themselves the medical costs.


Having medical debt hanging over your head can create a high-amount of unwanted stress, so it's vital to understand how to pay off some or all of your medical debt.

Review Your Itemized Bill

Have you ever received a ginormous medical bill in the mail and began to panic? Well, that paper bill might not even be correct. A lot of medical providers send you a paper bill showing your total balance owed without the individual charges that add up to your sum total. Request an itemized bill; it's an essential step to take when attempting to reduce your medical bills. Also, if you have a digital bill you can easily access the individual service and fees charged through your medical provider's patient portal.

Once you have access to your itemized bill, it's time to review it. This part can be a little tricky if you have no idea what you're looking for. There are a few things to look for when reviewing your bill, such as are there charges for services that you never received? Did the medical provider bill my insurance correctly? Was I charged for out-of-network services when I'm actually in-network?

Getty Images

Negotiate Your Medical Bills

As quiet as it's kept, you can negotiate your medical bills. The most important step for successful negotiating is to ask open-ended questions because this will push the provider to reveal the discounts, programs, and waivers that could help you.

Not only is it important to ask open-ended questions, but it's a great idea to incentivize the provider. For example, offer to pay your bill in full if the fees are waived or offer to pay your bill in full if you were charged the same rates Medicare would pay.

If this entire negotiation process seems a bit overwhelming, you don't even need to negotiate with the provider yourself. There are multiple companies that will aid you in lowering your medical bills for a 20%-30% share of the money you no longer need to pay for. This is convenient because if you don't receive any savings, you don't have to pay them.

Apply For Financial Assistance

More than 27 million Americans did not have health insurance, including 58% of low-income working adults and 44% of young adults in the year 2020. If you lack health insurance or your health insurance doesn't provide great coverage for your medical expenses, then you may be eligible for financial assistance.

Many hospitals offer financial assistance, but you need to apply for it. It's vital to apply as soon as possible because most programs disqualify your eligibility for assistance after about 240 days after the medical services were provided. Most applications require the patient to provide a detailed expense list, list of assets, family member information, proof of income, and tax returns.

Getty Images

Payment Plan

Enrolling in the medical provider's payment plan is the most popular method to pay off medical bills. Payment plans are fitting for anyone who wants to make payments on their bill, but can't pay it off in one lump sum payment. The frequency of payment and payment amount is unique to the terms you negotiate with your medical provider. Usually, the entirety of your amount owed is divided into numerous equal payments over a period, until your balance is non-existent.

If you choose a payment plan, make sure not to choose payments that prevent you from paying higher priority bills, since non-payment of medical debt has less immediate consequences than other bills.

Sadly, high medical costs continue to grow every year, which makes understanding how to lower medical costs an important tool every American should have in their toolbox. That's why it's critical to discover the options available to lower your debt, in order to avoid medical bankruptcy before your debt spirals out of control.

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

Featured image by Getty Images

Halle Bailey Talks 'The Little Mermaid' Backlash & Having A Forever Best Friend In Sister Chloe

Halle Bailey won our hearts alongside her sister Chloe when their cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” went viral when they were just teenagers, and from there they have become Grammy-nominated artists as the group Chloe x Halle thanks to albums like Ungodly Hour and The Kids Are Alright. Now, their fans have more to look forward to as Halle will be starring as the Disney princess Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
The Power Couples In The Zodiac & Your Money Match Based On Astrology

When it comes to power couples in the zodiac, there are instant matches that make for love and financial compatibility. Some zodiac signs work better together than others, and considering financial challenges tends to make or break relationships--finding your money match is important. Not only that but there are certain signs in the zodiac that can enhance your financial world, just by being in it. Planetary energy in certain areas of your birth chart can provide higher success rates and opportunities, and compatibility energy varies by degree.

Keep reading...Show less
The Do's & Don'ts Of Having Sex On The Beach

I’ve never actually tasted a 'Sex on the Beach,' but I certainly have imagined doing it. In fact, I’ve had a lot of sex fantasies, but this remains to be one at the top of my list. However, I continue to harbor some fear because it seems that beach sex is no easy feat.

Keep reading...Show less
The Evolution Of Serena Williams

It is like witnessing magic when you watch an athlete do what they do best. To see a mere human soar in the air over to the other side of a bar or to witness someone run at a speed quicker than a human thought. A basketball player defying gravity just to get a ball into a hoop. A ballerina turning their body into a top, spinning and spinning without fatigue.

Keep reading...Show less
Lori Harvey On Dating With A Purpose & Not Compromising Her Peace For Anyone

Lori Harvey’s dating life has consistently been a hot topic on social media and now the model is shedding light on some of her dating do’s and don’ts. In an episode of Bumble’s new “Luv2SeeIt” content series, the SKN by LH founder sat down with the series' director, producer, and host Teyana Taylor and disclosed some quote-worthy thoughts on dating and relationships.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

"I felt like I was not enough. And my mental health is important. So when I started feeling that way, I knew that it was time to shift."

Latest Posts