Debt Settlement And Relief Are Not The Only Two Options To Deal With Medical Debt
You may have applied all possible tactics and may have designed the best payment plan working with a professional debt adviser and still feel overwhelmed by your huge medical debt. In such situations you feel that there are two available options: either you settle your medical debt or consider enrolling with a debt relief program, but there are other alternatives as well.
There is a large variety of such debt relief programs offered by different organizations, hospitals and even the government. All these programs are designed to help you with your debts whether it is for debt negotiation for settlement or for debt consolidation. Apart from that, there are also a few agencies that offer credit counseling as a part of these programs.
When you enroll in such a program for debt relief it will help you to reduce financial stress. You will be able to know the path to take up to find a proper, quick and effective solution. However, you must always ensure that you select such programs from a company who is a member of the American Fair Credit Council, AFCC. It is only then you will have the best help from a qualified and experienced professional adviser. However, the path you choose to get rid of your medical debt is entirely dependent on your choice and affordability.
Things to know
Before you team up with a professional debt adviser to deal with your debt and get you and your finance back on the track, here is a little secret that you must know and most hospitals do not want you to know:
- All medical bills send to you are just an initial offer
- There is always a room to negotiate
- Most of the times you can get your bill amount reduced by as much as 90%
- You may even be forgiven entirely for your medical bills.
However, you will have to deal with medical debt and bills proficiently and that is why you need the help of a professional and reputed debt settlement company. You can click here to know more about debt settlement companies, their charges, their working process and even their debt settlement ratings and success ratio.
You will need a professional help because you will have to deal with the several people and factors while tackling your medical debt. You will have to deal with:
- The doctors and hospitals
- The collection agency if it is turned to them by the healthcare provider
- Your health insurance company and even
- With the lawsuits is the medical establishment is quite aggressive about collecting debts and has sued you.
It is beside the point that you will not be able to seek any further medical treatment if required from the same medical facility or doctor.
The professional will first make sure that the bill you received is accurate in all respects and there are no errors, omissions, overcharges, or charges for care and treatment that you did not receive at all. If there are any such errors, they or you will be asked to contact the billing office so that these are erased or fixed promptly.
It is then the negotiation process will start for which the pro will speak with your service provider. They will put all their efforts to lower the outstanding total after your health insurance provider has made the payment for the portion covered in your policy. Apart from that the professional will design a payment plan with your doctor or hospital.
This way, you will take on an unsecured debt like your credit card debt and you will be liable to pay a specific amount every month. You may be charged for interest as well as a predetermined fee.
Other options available
Apart from debt settlement you must also look for several other options that are available to get rid of your medical debt.
- Medical bill forgiveness is one such option to consider if you face a verifiable hardship such as incapacity or impairment which prevents you from working. The healthcare provider will however want to see proofs in the form of tax returns, written documentation and others.
- If you have no means to pay the medical bills you may also apply to different nonprofit organizations to help you with your medical bills.
If you do not want debt settlement or medical bill forgiveness you may also try out other different strategies to reduce your debt such:
- Pay it off with your credit card
- Apply for a bank loan
- Secure a line of credit or home equity loan or
- Take on a medical debt consolidation loan.
You may also take help of a patient advocate.
Help from medical bill advocates
Out of all these options that will have an effect on your credit score it seems that the option of using a medical bill or patient advocate is most reasonable. These advocates understand the medical delivery system and are the right person to negotiate for you. They will save you from being overwhelmed with the complexity of the system along with time and money. They will focus on procedures, evaluate, scrutinize, and appeal bills.
These advocates are typically helpful for medical bills with health insurance. You will need to know the charges covered, review the policy and even have to file an appeal in a timely manner if the insurers do not pay up. This time is often limited to 30 or 60 days and be prepared for denials and delays.
Often they will charge you for their services at an hourly rate or as percentage of the money saved ranging from 25 to 35%. If you want to save this charge you may find out from the church or from the non-profit organizations you may also get advocacy assistance often for free.
Apart from that, you may find a lot of names of such advocates contacting the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants or the Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals. You may even ask the hospital where you received treatment whether they have any advocates on staff but make sure whoever you hire will put your interests first.