5 Ways To Reduce Your Expensive Medical Bills
Medical expenses can be overwhelmingly high and for many people. Medical bills, unlike many other types of bills can be accrued very quickly and with little warning, and unlike other types of expenditures, medical expenses are often unavoidable. Just because you have high medical bills, however, does not mean you should feel powerless to pay them. Here are five tips on how to deal with high medical bills.
1. Call the Billing Office and Be Honest About Your Situation
Most billing offices will work with you because they want you to be able to pay your bill just as much as you do. If your bill is too high for you to pay in its entirety right now, decide how much you can reasonably pay right away and offer that amount to start. If you need a little more time to pay your bill at all, see if they can offer you an extension on the bill. Many hospitals will extend a bill’s due date at no additional cost. You may even be able to negotiate down the entire cost of your bill, particularly if you are paying for all of it. The most important thing is that you contact the billing office right away. The sooner you talk to them, the more likely they are to work with you.
2. Make An Attempt to Pay Your Bill
No matter how daunting a bill may seem, do not, under any circumstances avoid paying it all together. This will negatively impact your credit score and lead to late fees and collection fines that will only add to the amount of money you must pay. The best and most cost effective option is always speaking with the billing department. They can help you find an option that will help you avoid late fees and negative reports to credit agencies.
3. Offer to Pay the Bill in Cash
If you have access to a substantial amount of cash, offer to pay your bill in one lump cash payment. This can greatly lower the price that you are initially quoted on your bill. Paying in cash up front can bring down bill amounts to such a degree that it may be worth borrowing cash from someone like a family member and paying them back, rather than the hospital or doctor’s office. Cash payment prices were originally intended for patients without health insurance, but many offices may be open to reduced cash pricing for a number of out of pocket expenses.
4. Check for Errors on Your Bill
The reality of medical billing is that a substantial number of medical bills contain errors. Many patients pay bills that contain overcharges because they do not recognize the errant charges or do not fully understand their bill. Before you pay a bill, make sure that you fully understand each line item and that all procedures and treatments on your bill match up with the care that you received at your doctor’s office or hospital. If there are any confusing items on your bill, call the billing office and ask for an explanation.
5. Talk to Low Interest Financing Companies
Many hospitals and doctors offices work with financing companies that will pay your bill and allow you to make monthly payments at a low interest rate. Inquire with your health care provider’s billing office about what types of companies they work with and do some research on your own about private loans that you may be able to obtain to help keep your medical bills current. Pay as much as you can upfront to keep the amount you pay in interest even lower.