How to Cope with Medical Debt
There are few people who can honestly say they aren’t hounded by medical debt and even those with the best healthcare coverage know only too well that some things just aren’t covered under their plan. With the rising cost of medical care and pharmaceuticals, it’s a wonder everyone doesn’t have some kind of derogatory mark on their credit report from a hospital, diagnostic facility or physician’s office.
Those who don’t can count themselves among the fortunate. If you have medical debt that’s reflected on your credit history and keeping you from establishing a good credit rating, there are solutions which you might be able to find on this helpful website. Let’s talk about some of those solutions now.
Take Out a Personal Loan to Pay Off Existing Debt
If your existing medical debt isn’t in the 6 figure bracket, you just might be able to qualify for a personal loan which you could use to pay off any existing medical debt. However, if you find that the amount you owe is beyond what you could hope to borrow with your credit rating, there are other things you might try first and then go back to thinking about that personal loan.
Negotiation Can Prove Useful
You may have begun getting rather threatening calls from a collection agency. While their tone may be amicable enough, the frequency of those calls can put even the most patient of consumers on edge. There are laws regulating how and when they can make those calls but you will find that some medical billing services are none too scrupulous. You will get calls at 6:00 AM and then again at 9:30 PM on a Sunday night.
The reason for this is simple. They get a percentage of every bill they settle and so they literally want your money. Have you tried negotiating with them? They know how much the doctor or institution will settle for and this gives them a bit of leeway for bargaining. To them, it’s better to get something than nothing, so they will often help you settle for a fraction of what you owe.
Try to Settle BEFORE Bills Hit the Credit Bureaus
Where possible, your best course of action would be to find solutions before any debt is reported to Transunion, Experian or Equifax. These are the three national credit reporting agencies and the ones which will hold your credit history and rank your creditworthiness in the form of a credit score. You really don’t want medical bills to hit your delinquencies because if left unpaid, those marks will stay on your report for anywhere from seven to ten years.
It really pays to act before your good credit rating is blemished. Sometimes even doctors will be willing to negotiate rather than take a loss so by working with them you can save money and earn time to pay those debts. Payment plans can be set up to your satisfaction as well as that of the medical facility and everyone walks away a winner. However, once you’ve established a payment plan, it is important to stick to the agreement.
If you don’t, you are in jeopardy of nullifying the agreement and once again owing the same high amount. You are also in jeopardy of being reported to one or more of the national credit reporting agencies. That’s something you really want to avoid.
Never Ignore Correspondence
Another way to cope with medical debt is to fully understand what you are being charged for. Some people summarily throw away any correspondence thinking it is just notification of what their insurance covered. To their chagrin, sometimes they are throwing away a bill which has a due date that has come and gone.
If you want to cope with medical debt, don’t ignore it! Throwing any correspondence in the trash before understanding what it contains is a huge error in judgment that altogether too many people make. Conversely, many people think the entire amount is a bill and discard it because it is too high for them to handle so why bother.
If they had taken the time to read and understand that communication they received in the mail they would have seen that it itemizes what was covered under medical insurance and what still needs to be paid. Sometimes the outside of the envelope will indicate that “This is not a bill!” If you pay attention to your mail you can often avoid the unfortunate situations you find yourself in.
Opt for Better Coverage
Another way to cope with medical debt is to seek solutions going forward. Depending on your carrier, you just might be able to opt into better coverage. Perhaps you can get a plan with a lower copay or one that does away with copays altogether. Some treatments are not automatically covered on the most basic plans so if you want to deal with debt in the future, the best way to do that is to find ways to avoid it altogether.
While you may be reluctant to pay a higher premium every month, the few dollars difference could make a huge impact on your credit rating. Sometimes an uncovered expense runs tens of thousands of dollars when a few extra dollars a month could have seen to those services being covered by the insurance company.
The Best Way to Deal with Medical Debt
In the end, the best way to deal with medical debt is to avoid it altogether. If all else fails, try to negotiate better terms and set up a payment plan whereby you can make those installments comfortably. If you can’t get better coverage, try making payment arrangements with your medical care provider. Sometimes they will reduce their costs to some degree as well.
Just remember that your credit rating can impact everything from whether or not you get that lovely apartment you want to rent to getting the dream job you’ve trained so hard for. You may need to take out a loan to pay off that debt, but by all means do what you can to resolve the issue. Your creditworthiness in the coming years depends on it. Take care of it now or lose going forward into your future. The choice really is yours.