Learn how to avoid collections over medical debt.
4 minute read
Illness and injury are an unfortunate (and scary!) fact of life, but once you’re patched up after surgery or a lengthy hospital stay, you want to focus on your recovery, not worrying about how on Earth you’re going to pay off any medical debt.
Medical debt can be overwhelming, and according to a 2018 study published by Health Affairs, it’s not just older Americans who are managing debt from medical bills.
It is actually Millennials who are racking up the most medical debt – 11% of all people who had a medical bill go to collections in 2016 were just 27 years old. So how can you pay off medical bill debt and hopefully stay out of collections? There are several different options available that may help you manage your medical debt with minimal pain, so you can focus on feeling better.
Before we dive in, we should mention we realize the nature of medical debt is often very sensitive. These strategies are merely a collection of tips and commonplace ideas found through our research on the internet.
This article shouldn’t be considered advice in any sense; every person’s situation is unique, which means it’s always a good idea to check in with a professional before taking action yourself. With that said, let’s dive into what we found.
Medical debt payment plans
Medical care can be expensive, especially if you’re facing a chronic condition with ongoing costs or major surgery or hospital stay. One plan of action you might consider is contacting your medical provider to see if they offer payment plans.
Some providers offer payment plans that allow you to make payments on your medical bill over time, paying it off in installments. Talking to your healthcare provider or a hospital billing department can be a great first step to figuring out if there is a payment plan you can take advantage of when it comes to medical bill debt.
Of course, one major downside to payment plans is that not all medical providers or medical offices offer payment plans and may require full payment when services are rendered.
Likewise, some medical providers may only let you set up a payment plan in advance, which means that a payment plan might not be a solution for any medical debt you’ve already accrued. And of course, some payment plans may still be too prohibitively expensive to pay every month, even if you’re paying overtime.
Using a medical credit card
If you’re looking at a medical bill that you can’t pay out of pocket, you may be tempted to reach for a credit card. Before you hand over whatever card is in your wallet, you might want to consider looking into credit cards specifically designed to be used to pay for medical care.
Medical credit cards sometimes offer low or no interest for a predetermined period of time, which means that you may be able to pay your medical bill with the credit card and then pay off the card before it accrues interest.
But be careful – if you can’t pay off the credit card before the interest-free period is over, you might face high-interest charges, which could actually end up making your medical bills more expensive.
Consider pulling out the calculator and doing some math to see if you can afford to pay off your medical bills during the interest-free period before you decide to put the costs on a medical credit card. This can help you determine how useful a medical credit card might be in your specific situation.
Published by Debt.com, LLC