How to Get Help Paying Medical Bills?

How to Get Help Paying Medical Bills

For many patients, resolving debilitating pain can result in horrifying medical bills. In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 43 million Americans had medically-related debts in 2014. This number likely multiplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. The expectation is for patients to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for standard procedures. Choosing between receiving vital preventive or curative care and saving thousands of dollars is an unrealistic but all too common occurrence among Americans. 

What Happens if Patients’ Medical Bills Go Unpaid?

Whether a patient cannot afford to pay their medical bills or consciously decides to avoid repayment, medical bills do not simply disappear. Eventually, a medical practice will sell their patients’ debts to collection agencies if they determine that their practice probably won’t be reimbursed. Once a debt collection service takes over patients’ obligations, they will go to great lengths to convince patients to pay the money they owe. This may involve calling, sending emails, composing texts, or delivering physical bills to patients multiple times per week. Additionally, collection companies will not hesitate to demolish patients’ credit scores and histories as they fail to make payments. This can keep individuals from obtaining necessary financing opportunities such as renting an apartment, taking out a car loan, or even getting a credit card for years while their credit is poor. 

If collection agencies are unwilling to negotiate debt reduction and patients cannot repay the total amount of their medical debts fast, patients could encounter civil lawsuits on behalf of their medical providers and collection agencies. Patients who ignore the suits or lose their cases will have their incomes garnered, making it harder to keep up with other monthly bills.

Ways to Prevent the Above Complications

Once a patient has verified that their medical bills have been accurately calculated based on itemizations that are personally or professionally investigated, they should pay off their accounts as quickly as possible while maintaining contact with billing agencies. This will help them avoid the issues above and evade filing for bankruptcy, which affects an individual’s credit for an entire decade. 

Uninsured patients should attempt to save money on their medical expenses by asking their medical provider if they are willing to charge them the insurance rate, which is generally lower than the cost they’d otherwise pay. Given that a patient can prove their low socioeconomic status, they might be able to get help paying off their medical expenses from a non-profit organization, pay a reduced cost, or have their debt forgiven altogether because of federal protections.

If there is any way a patient can reduce their payments by explaining their financial hardships and sharing proof of their income to support their claims, they should try to do so. This option may be more attainable currently, as COVID-19-related job loss or reduction of work hours can commonly be used to excuse delayed payments. Overall, honesty and transparency can influence a medical billing agency’s willingness to help relieve a patient’s economic burden. 

It should be noted that negotiating a bill may appease the needs of both parties in that the patient will pay less money while the practice will earn more money than if the patient were to avoid making any payments. However, negotiating the cost of medical care is unlikely to deplete the expenses a patient owes significantly. Therefore, patients would still benefit from financing their debt via healthcare payment plans.

Healthcare Financing Via Payment Plans

Some providers may be willing to help patients by allowing them to finance their bills using in-house or hybrid in-house payment plans. Certain practices offer patients 0% interest on in-house payment plans; others charge patients for applicable interest and fees. For this reason, patients should consider the quality, transparency, and expenses of practices before deciding where to have their procedures conducted. Patients must remember that paying promptly to preserve their credit scores is vital regardless of the provider they visit.

If a practice does not offer traditional in-house financing or a patient does not qualify for such funding, they may establish a hybrid in-house payment plan. In this case, a third party collects payments from a patient, enforcing all legal and contractual guidelines related to the payment plan. Patients whose providers do not yet offer payment plans can suggest several financial companies to partner with, including Denefits. 

Denefits is remarkable because it guaranteed customer financing to 100% of applicants. The company does not check applicants’ credit histories, meaning that patients of any credit status qualify for financing. Through Denefits, patients’ APRs max out around 20%, which is unbelievable compared to other financing companies, especially for patients with poor credit. Some patients may even qualify for lower APRs depending on their repayment terms. Denefits never surprises patients with hidden fees or conditions; all contracts are transparent and are not adjusted after being agreed to by all parties involved. Also, the Denefits app enables patients to make payments online, from anywhere, at any time!

Endnote

Check out denefits to learn more about how to get help financing your medical bills!

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