Wondering how to pay off your Medical Debt? Keep reading!
Even if you have good health insurance, a costly medical procedure can encumber you with a substantial amount of medical debt.
If you have an emergency fund or other savings you would be fine, if not, you may need to negotiate with your medical provider, or your bill will be sent to collections.
Paying off medical debt is not as easy as resolving other forms of debt, in which there’s generally more room to negotiate the terms of the loan repayment and even reduce the original amount you owe.
In this guide, we’ll be talking about what is medical debt and how you can pay it back. Let’s get started!
- Medical debts are not that damaging to your credit score.
- Credit bureaus are not allowed to out your medical debt on your credit score unless it has remained unpaid for six months.
- To pay off your medical debt, you can use a Credit Card, hire a medical debt advocate, look into assistance policies, and more.
What Is A Medical Debt?
Medical debt is money that you owe in the form of medical bills to the health care provider who treats you in case of an illness or injury.
It is different from other types of debts as it concerns unforeseen health circumstances that are out of your control.
If a person does not pay a medical bill, the care provider will either try to collect it personally or turn it to the third-party collection debt collectors or credit bureaus, who will continuously contact you through calls or emails to get the payment.
Unlike other debts, medical debts are not that damaging to your credit score, as federal law restricts the credit bureaus from putting your medical debt on your credit report unless it has remained unpaid for six-months
Read: What Is Debt Management?
How To Pay Off Your Medial Debt?
Hospitals and health care providers are often willing to reduce the amount of the original debt you owe if you prove that you cannot afford to pay the debt in full.
You can explain your financial situation to the hospital or your doctor and try to negotiate a payment plan or price you can afford.
Here are some tips that will help you pay off your medical debt.
- Create a Budget
The first and most important thing is to make a budget and factor your medical debt into it. Keep track of where you spend your money, try to cut off unnecessary expenses, and modify your budget to include your monthly repayments.
- Try to Negotiate
Contact your doctor or the hospital and try to settle the debt for less than what you owed. Ask them to reduce the amount or arrange affordable monthly installments until you have paid the debt off.
Your options depend on your financial situation, insurance company, and the hospital that has provided the medical treatment.
- Pay High-Interest Debts First
List all your debts from the smallest to the largest and start paying with the debts with the highest interest rates.
The longer the interest rate accrues on your balance, the more you’ll have to pay. It is known as the debt avalanche method of debt repayment and helps in debt reduction.
- Look into Assistance Policies
Doctors often offer a discount to uninsured patients if you pay in cash.
In addition, some hospitals have funds set aside for people who can afford to pay medical bills or qualify for other types of assistance.
If you qualify for this assistance, your medical debt might be cut in half or forgiven completely.
- Hire A Medical Debt Advocate
If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating on your own, you can hire a non-profit medical advocate to negotiate on your behalf.
Medical advocates understand the system and can settle the matter in your best interest.
- Use a Credit Card
So we do not recommend putting your medical bill on a credit card, as it will shift your bills from a lower interest rate to a high-cost form of debt.
However, if you can quickly pay the debt off, you can consider this option as the last resort of the last resort.
Amit Gupta is the founder of National Planning Cycles, a company that helps startups, individuals, and small businesses with their financial planning. He has a vast amount of experience in the finance sector, having managed Google Play accounts for some of the world’s most successful unicorns. Amit is an expert in his field, and he uses his knowledge to help others achieve their individual goals.