Medical bills are a common reason why people suffer financial hardship. Even if you have a decent health insurance policy, it is still possible to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt. You may have heard stories of some people with insurance policies receiving bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. These are typically cases where an out-of-network health care provider charges more than what the patient’s insurance provider is willing to cover. There are a couple of ways you could resolve unaffordable medical bills. Possible solutions include:
- Requesting an itemized bill to look for mistakes. An itemized bill would allow you to look for duplicate charges or services that were never provided. It is estimated that a majority of medical bills contain mistakes. You could notify the hospital or clinic of these mistakes to lower your bills.
- Negotiating a payment plan with the hospital. The hospital or clinic may allow you to set up affordable monthly payments for services you received.
- Find out if you qualify for Medicaid, assistance or charity. Some hospitals offer charity or medical bill assistance services that can partially or fully pay bills for patients who are experiencing financial hardship. You could also check to see if you qualify for Medicaid.
- Negotiate with collections or the hospital. If the bill has already gone to collections, you may be able to negotiate an affordable lump sum payment. Collection agencies would rather get something than nothing. The hospital may also negotiate a reduced price.
- File an appeal with your health insurance provider. If your health insurance provider refuses to cover a service or medication, then you have the right to file an appeal.
Can Bankruptcy Discharge Medical Bills?
You could also file for bankruptcy to discharge your medical bills. Medical bills are an unsecured debt, meaning that they are not covered by collateral (such as property). Whether this is a good option would depend on the circumstances. However, it is not uncommon for people to file for bankruptcy to discharge medical debt.
Texas bankruptcy lawyer David Shuster could discuss your situation to help you determine whether bankruptcy would be a good option.