According to the American Journal of Medicine, 62% of bankruptcies in 2007 were caused by medical debt. Furthermore, 80% of those who filed during that time period in New Mexico and throughout the country had insurance. Take a look at what you should know if you have recently incurred medical debts or are having trouble paying down existing debt balances.
Make sure the balance is accurate
It is possible for medical care providers to make mistakes when billing your insurance company. It is also possible for your insurance company to deny a claim in error. Therefore, it is important to review your bill and make sure that you haven’t been charged for a visit or procedure that your policy is supposed to cover. Your insurance company should send an explanation of benefits letter that will give you a detailed look at what was covered and what you may owe.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
In many cases, hospitals and other service providers don’t rely on a set price structure. Instead, they charge whatever they think a person would pay for an office visit, procedure or medication. In most cases, patients pay their bills without question or without a lot of resistance. However, simply asking for a discount could result in saving hundreds or thousands of dollars on a medical bill.
Be proactive about dealing with outstanding balances
In many cases, ignoring letters from your insurance company or notices from your doctor will result in a balance being sent to collections. A debt balance that goes into collections will be reported to the credit agencies, which means that your credit score can go down. There is also a chance that you could be sued in effort to collect what you owe.
If you are struggling to repay medical debts, it might be a good idea to think about filing for bankruptcy protection. An attorney may be able to talk more about the process of filing and the potential benefits of doing so, such as obtaining an automatic stay of creditor contact.