Debt also known as loan is never taken by choice especially medical debt. No one wants to get ill or have surgeries. Most medical debt is from accidents or sudden illnesses. Unforeseen medical debt can destroy your credit. Hopefully you have insurance to combat your medical debt but even with insurance, if you haven’t met your deductible you can still find yourself over your head financially with medical debt. There are some options to reduce medical debt.
1. Review Your Medical Bills Carefully
Review all charges on your bill. Many times people are charged for services unknowingly. If you see any charges for services rendered you did not receive call your insurance company immediately. These charges can many times be reversed to reduce medical debt.
2. Pay your Deductible with a Check or Credit Card
If you pay your deductible with cash, ask for a receipt. If you do not have proof of payment you have nothing to argue if you are billed again for an unpaid deductible.
3. Make Sure your Providers are In-Network
If you have a scheduled appointment or surgery you can easily check beforehand to make sure the provider is in your insurance network. The best way to ensure this is to contact your insurance company before your procedure. D not rely on an on-line directory which may not be up to date. If your medical debt comes from an emergency situation you may not be able to check this information first. In that case read on to hear more about balance bills.
4. Choose an In-Network Hospital
That’s right, even a hospital can be in or out-of-network. So if you are seeing a specialist at St Anthony’s in Lakewood or Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Aurora or any hospital, make sure they are in-network.
5. Avoid Balance Bills to Reduce Medical Debt
One of the easiest ways to reduce medical debt is to avoid surprise medical bills. Also referred to as balance bills. If your care was in an in network facility you might be seen by an out of network provider. This could be a doctor, radiologist, anesthesiologist, psychologist or other specialist sent in to facilitate during your stay. To complicate even further, sometimes these specialists do not accept your insurance. But how are you supposed to know? Certainly you can ask everyone that comes into see you if they are on your insurance plan but most of the time you do not think to ask that.
You may get a bill in the mail stating you owe an out-of-network provider money. Also known as a “balance bill”. Colorado has limited protections for the consumer against balance billing. Out of network providers generally charge a much higher rate than what is negotiated with your in-network provider.
In Colorado the Division of Insurance (DOI) regulated health insurance plans are required to hold patients harmless when treated by out-of-network providers at an in-network facility. This mean you can only be charged at the in-network rate. But that doesn’t stop the providers from sending bills.
If you find you have been charged an out of network fee at an in-network facility contact your insurance company and explain what happened.
6. Ask for an Itemized Medical Bill
Ask for an itemized bill from the sender. If they refuse or do not provide, file a complaint with the Colorado Division of Insurance here.
Reduce Medical Debt and Bankruptcy
When your bills are simply too large to maintain you can contact the doctors and hospital to negotiate a payment plan or possible reduced bills due to hardship. Another option when you can’t get a solution you can afford is bankruptcy. We provide as much information as possible to help you avoid bankruptcy but offer free consultations if you feel like this may be your only option. If you want to know more about your bankruptcy options before contacting us click here to learn about Chapter 7 bankruptcy or here to learn about Chapter 13.