Medical bills are known to make up the majority of collection accounts on credit reports. It truly becomes stressful dealing with medical bills but, no matter how much medical debt you have, there are some steps you can follow to become proactive and get it paid off to avoid accumulating future debt. Here now are some simple measures you can take to keep medical debt in check:
First, collect and organize all your medical bills, invoices, insurance statements, and other paperwork. Avoid throwing any of these away and make sure all bills from the hospital are itemized. If they’re not, contact your hospital and request itemized versions so you can check them for errors. While at it, do make sure that your personal information is correct, that your insurance information is listed, and that you aren’t being charged for any services you didn’t receive.
You should know what your insurance covers, and what it doesn’t. However, your insurance information needs to be up-to-date and accurate too. Review your benefits carefully and ask for an an overview of how much you were charged, how much your policy covered, and how much you have to pay out-of-pocket.
In the process of reviewing your bills, you probably will see some mistakes. If you need to dispute a bill, send a written notice to the provider and include a copy of all relevant documents, such as records from doctors’ offices or credit card statements. Do not send original documents.
You may also want to contact the billing office at the hospital or medical office and explain the error to them; if it’s an obvious error, they should be able to fix it right away. In the meantime, understand that you’ll still be responsible for the bill, and they may have to refund you later on.
Hospitals may negotiate the amount of the bill with you but the bill may be reduced if you pay the whole amount up front. The hospital might also offer a plan that enables you to pay off the debt in installments at no interest.
Finally, you can avoid future debt from medical bills by making sure you fully understand your health insurance benefits. Also, try not to put medical bills on your credit card because you will be charged with a high interest rate and it will look like regular debt to other creditors.