Using a credit card is not the only way to pay off your medical bills. Keep reading for the doctor bill: 7 key ways to pay off your medical bills.
Approximately 137 million Americans are currently struggling with medical debt. Are you one of them?
Medical debt is crushing for so many people, and it’s easy to feel as though you’ll never pay off the doctor bill or any other bills that are piling up on your kitchen table. There are ways out, though. Read on to learn about seven ways you can pay off your medical bills as soon as possible.
Common Questions About Medical Debt
A lot of people are dealing with medical debt, but many of them also have a lot of questions about this debt and the long-term effects it’ll have on them. For example, they might have questions like “do medical bills affect your credit”, “can medical bills be negotiated?”, and “is there such a thing as medical debt relief?”
As for the first question, medical bills will affect your credit. This is especially true if they get handed over to a collections agency because you haven’t paid them on time.
Medical bills can be negotiated, though. In many cases, hospitals and clinics are willing to accept a lower payment as it saves them from having to deal with a total loss and spend time reporting the unpaid bill to a collections agency.
Medical debt relief is available, too. There are companies that specialize in helping customers consolidate their medical debt and come up with a plan for paying it off.
How to Pay Off Medical Debt
Now, let’s get down to business. What can you do to pay medical bills in an efficient way and save them from wrecking your credit and ruining your life? Here are seven of the most effective strategies for getting rid of medical debt:
1. Ask About a Payment Plan
When you’re facing thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars in medical bills, hospitals and clinics understand that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pay it all at once. This is where payment plans come in handy.
In most cases, healthcare providers are willing to work with you to set up a payment plan that makes your bills more manageable and ensures they get paid in a timely manner. Don’t be afraid to contact your doctor’s office and see what arrangements they can make for you.
2. Use a Medical Credit Card
Some hospitals and doctor’s offices are also willing to accept medical credit cards. These are credit cards meant specifically to help you pay for healthcare-related expenses.
Many medical credit cards have a 6-12 month interest-free period, and they can be a good option if a payment plan isn’t available or if you need to buy yourself a little more time to pay off a bill. Make sure you continue to make regular payments, though. Otherwise, you’ll get hit with a ton of interest and will see your credit score negatively affected.
3. Look into Hardship Plans
In some cases, based on your income and current circumstances, you might be eligible for a hardship plan. This can help you break up your total debt into manageable payments, and you might be able to reduce the total amount you owe altogether.
4. Negotiate the Bills
Don’t underestimate your ability to negotiate your medical bills. Often, there’s room to reduce your medical debt. You just have to use the right tactics.
A good starting point is to go through your medical bills with a fine-tooth comb. Look for any charges that seem incorrect or seem like they’re too high. Medical billing errors are common, and there’s a good chance you’ll come up with something that you can use as leverage to lower your bills.
Many doctor’s offices and hospitals are also more willing to negotiate bills down if you also agree to a payment plan or are willing to pay a portion of the bill upfront. Consider putting down something, even if it’s just a few hundred dollars, as an act of good faith.
5. Work with a Medical Debt Advocate
Medical debt advocates or medical debt relief companies can be a good ally if you’re dealing with tons of medical bills (after an intense surgery or several treatments, for example). They’re also a good option if you’re not confident in your negotiation skills.
These companies can negotiate on your behalf and help you to consolidate your debt. They can also help you come up with a plan to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
Before you work with a debt relief company, do some research to make sure they’re legitimate. Check to see what their past customers have to say about their services, too.
6. Tap into Your Assets
Sometimes, the best approach is to tap into your assets to pay off your medical debt. Selling possessions, like a car, can give you access to some cash that you can use to pay down your debts. You might also want to consider taking out a home equity loan or starting a home equity line of credit.
7. Take Out a Loan
There are other loans you can use to pay off your medical debts, too. there are small loans available that you can use for any purpose.
These loans, like medical credit cards, can give you more time to pay off your medical bills and help you split your debt into more manageable monthly payments. Pay attention to interest rates and terms, though, to ensure you know exactly what you’re agreeing to before you sign anything.
Time to Pay the Doctor Bill
The doctor bill (or bills) can easily create anxiety and stress, especially if you’re already struggling to make ends meet. There are ways to get rid of it, though. If you keep the information outlined above in mind, you’ll have a much easier time being able to pay medical bills and move forward with your life.
Do you need more help paying off debt or managing your finances? If so, we have plenty of money management-related articles available on our site. Check them out today and become a master of your money once and for all.