Many Americans find themselves struggling to clear hospital debt. This is partly due to the nature of the health industry. Low levels of insurance coverage, lack of holistic policies that cover health needs, and lack of honesty on the industry players have come at the disadvantage of the average American. If you find yourself with a hospital bill, use these six ways to manage it.
1. Negotiate everything
Hospital bills can escalate fast. Even when you have an updated health insurance cover, an out-of-pocket bill can be disturbingly high. Hospitals are not always helpful and can make things hard by adding unnecessary charges. You must negotiate everything. Effective negotiation requires information.
The internet hosts a lot of valuable information. You can check for standard prices for each medical procedure. Some hospitals can charge even for a pair of gloves; it is common knowledge that such an item is part of the cost of doing business. Negotiate the bills, the payment plan, and the service too.
2. Request hospital financial assistance
Some hospitals, especially big ones, offer financial assistance to deserving patients. The eligibility criterion for such financial aid is set internally, mostly on a need-to-know basis. You can ask the billing department about it. Some hospitals get funding from NGOs and other organizations to fund some medical procedures such as chemo, dialysis, among others. Even if you don’t qualify for the full waiver, a few hundred dollars can make a lot of difference.
3. Be alert about the costs and decisions
Out-of-network providers cost more from your pocket, yet clinics are fond of using them without your consent. Insurance providers often get smart about not covering some of your bills. Errors and overcharges are prevalent; sometimes, they seem deliberate. Most people don’t look for these and many other issues and decisions made by the hospital or the insurance provider. Don’t make that mistake.
4. Get a professional to review your bills
Because it is not easy to review your bills rigorously, especially if you are the patient, it is good to get a professional. Some organizations don’t charge to review your hospital bills. However, you can enlist the services of a medical billing attorney. Nationwide Debt Direct is an organization that helps people in negotiating debt payments. You can involve them in negotiating bills. Such professionals can help you decipher through billing codes and medical jargon that you would otherwise not understand.
5. Request external assistance
Some medical bills are plainly ridiculous. It is not hard to see a single week of hospitalization charged over $200, 000, which is a ridiculous sum even for the proverbial 1%. You may need some help from the significant others. Online channels, such as crowdfunding, can help. You just need to create a medical appeal and popularize it. You can invite colleagues, classmates, friends, relatives, and the public to come to your aid.
6. Friendly credit cards
A good financial advisor will advise you to run away from credit cards. Instead, they will encourage you to take personal loans. However, I will depart from this notion. Some credit cards offer no interest rates for a period before they start charging interest. You can use this grace period to redeem your finances. If you are not sure of your ability to honor the payments before, you can opt for a personal loan.
According to Nationwide Debt Direct, people who show proactivity in seeking solutions to their problems are likely to have few financial challenges. Do not allow a medical bill to destroy you, take an active role in managing it including seeking professionals.