Medical care and its associated costs are frequently overlooked in household planning. According to Nerd Wallet Health, it is estimated almost one in five - or roughly 51 million - American adults were contacted by a debt collection agency about unpaid medical bills in 2014.
The simple suggestion is don't risk ruining your credit rating because of unpaid medical bills. It can affect future finances such as obtaining a mortgage, buying a car and getting a job.
Start now by thinking of your future health care as part of your financial planning, not something that's beyond your control. It needs to be treated just like any other key financial decision.
However, if you have incurred unexpected medical expenses, don't immediately write a check or pay by credit card. Try negotiating the costs and check out financial assistance opportunities. We do not provide tax, financial, or legal advice, so you should speak with a qualified professional for advice, but here are just a few helpful suggestions to consider when coping with those burdensome medical bills.
Review your bill carefully.
Surprisingly, many medical bills contain clerical errors resulting in overcharges. If you find erroneous charges, you can probably call and have them corrected. Don't be intimidated.
Negotiate and negotiate more.
It's not widely known that medical bills are negotiable. This includes with hospitals, doctor's offices and even your health insurance company. This process might take some time, so be persistent.
Most hospitals, especially nonprofit hospitals, offer charity care programs to cover part of the cost, or offer discount services for special need families or the uninsured. Hospital representatives who oversee this program may even direct you to other programs that provide financial assistance.
Don't ignore the collection agency.
If you have received notice from a collection agency, don't avoid the collector. It will only make matters worse. Even if you can't pay the amount, follow up and say "I can't pay." It can make a difference just by making contact.
Ask for help.
Contact local public or private support groups and charities. Members of cancer, diabetes, autism or other illness support groups may prove a valuable resource in exploring the health care system and providing advice. Some states offer resources to contest a medical bill, and advocates can be hired to reduce bills.
At J.G. Wentworth, we can also help you to free up cash for unexpected medical bills.
Maybe selling your annuity payments is the right move. Before you sell annuity payments, we recommend that you read our annuity FAQ.
Helping you get cash for unpaid medical bills through our annuity purchase program is one of our specialties. We can also help with personal loans, college education expenses and more.Learn More