Find how to settle medical debt.
Today, many hospitals, doctors, and medical providers are more willing to settle a patients medical debts or bills. They are taking a similar approach as credit card companies, in that they would rather receive some payments on unpaid bills rather than have the consumer file for bankruptcy, in which case the medical provider will not get paid at all.
Can you really settle medical debt?
Millions of families file bankruptcy every year as a result of overwhelming medical bills. Some studies show that excessive health care costs is the number one reason that families have to file. The bankruptcy filings are often caused by patients either having no health insurance, having a serious illness, or being underinsured. However, even many people with health insurance can be overwhelmed.
If you are one of those struggling, and you can’t afford to pay your medical debt or doctor and hospital bills, you should be able to reduce the amount you owe through a debt settlement program. Some people decide to try this themselves or they use a company or professional to help. With a debt settlement program, you can negotiate either yourself with the medical provider or you can use a third party company to do this. The goal is to lower the total balance you owe on your debt and to also agree to a repayment plan that will meet the needs of both parties. You can save as much as 60% and avoid bankruptcy.
Many studies and personal experiences say that it is easier to negotiate with a doctor or a hospital than it is say a credit card company or mortgage lender. Doctors and hospital are much less likely to go thru the process and expense of suing you, they tend to be more sympathetic to your situation, and do not want the bad publicity.
What are the benefits
The benefits are many. Without help, you can default on your bills, possibly be sued and ruin your credit. Or you could file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy which is damaging to your credit score and the bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. You may lose all your assets from a bankruptcy filing, not be able to take out future loans, a low credit score can hurt you when looking for a job, and in general, you may need to start all over. So the settlement may prevent all of that from happening!
How do settlement companies help?
Hundreds of companies, both non profit and for profit debt settlement companies, exist that can advise you and handle the negotiations and paperwork for you. They will review your financial situation, including your unpaid medical bills and also check your account for the all too common billing errors. They know the tricks of the trade and have relationships in the industry. They will use their expertise to contact the doctor or hospital and try to have your debt eliminated, and negotiate a reasonable payment plan for you on your bills.
It can’t be stressed enough that companies and organizations are experts at dealing with billing agencies, hospitals, debt collectors, and individual physicians. They know the regulations and the state law. They also know how to deal with medical debt collectors. They also have a good idea based upon past experiences how much of your medical debt can be forgiven in your situation.
Agencies to contact for help
Many non-profit credit and debt counseling agencies can help patients deal with their medical bills. Not only that, but they can also address any other financial difficulties that a family may be facing. Organizations operate in every state. Find information on non-profit credit counselors.
Settle medical debt with hospital or doctor
You may be able to do this and end up paying pennies on the dollar. The reason this can be done is that most doctors, and many hospitals, rarely are responsible for collecting their own debt and do not devote many resources to this. If the bill is not immediately paid, and as the account ages, it will be transferred to various steps of the debt collection process, depending on the company and provider. While very few medical providers will have an inhouse collection department, most will outsource this function to an agency or a local law firm, and some may “sell” the unpaid bills to third party debt buyers. At each step of this process, the original medical creditor, such as a hospital or doctor, is forced to share more of the amount that is eventually collected, sometimes down to 5-10% on the dollar when the debt is sold. So the truth is that if you pay 10 percent immediately on your bills, it will close out an account and resolve the situation.
So what you need to do is to contact your local medical billing department and work out a low monthly payment plan, or pay it off directly with them. The fact is that if you can offer a lump sum payment on your medical debt that same day you may very well find that some organizations and/or collectors will accept as little as 10 percent of the total bill that was originally due. Find tips how to negotiate medical bills. Learn more.
Can I do it myself?
Maybe yes. While not everyone can handle the do-it-yourself medical debt settlement route, it can be done. The process can be scary and intimidating to many. However, if you are brave enough to try it yourself, give it try as it can save you a lot of money and reduce your bills. Some of the steps and how to do this include :
- First, get all of your bills and statements in order as you need to determine exactly how much you owe on your bills and who you need to pay. If you need another copy of your statement then you can get a fully itemized bill from the doctor’s practice or hospital.
- Review your medical bills closely. Be sure to check that every charge is correct as medical bills are renown for errors. Find tips for how to check medical bills. As up to 80% of bills have errors, there is a good chance that there will be some inaccuracies in your case. While insurance companies and other companies do not have the resources or time to address each one (they often just pay), however if you are responsible for paying the bill yourself, it pays to double check it for errors.
- Third, determine how much of the bill you can realistically afford to pay up front and each month. Be realistic with your personal situation. Creditors will not forgive all of your debt unless you have a case that is well presented and if they decide they have no hope of getting money from your bills.
- After you arrived at these amounts, contact the party you need to pay, such as the physician, doctor, debt collection agency, or hospital. Now you are ready to begin the process to try to negotiate with them to reduce your unpaid balance. Also, explore a payment plan. If you state your case (professionally) and can document your situation, there is a fairly good chance that they will provide you with relief.
Government help to settle medical debt
If you have no other options, either from a professional company and are not successful trying yourself, then there are still some government assistance programs that can help with medical debt. There are billions of dollars available in federal, state, and local government grants. While some of these funds are specific to certain illnesses or sicknesses, and others grants help pay for long or short-term care, there are numerous program and options to look into and some are bound to help.