Rarely are medical bills something you plan for. Especially if you’re having an emergency procedure or end up in the hospital, you have very little time to plan how these events are going to impact you financially. And even with insurance, your out-of-pocket costs can be astronomical. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help make these financial burdens a little easier to bear. To show you how, here are three ways you can lighten the load of large medical bills you’re dealing with.
Understanding The Statements and Bills
In order to do anything about your medical bills, you’ve first got to understand them. Once you’re no longer receiving medical care, you will likely be sent two different documents: one from your insurance and one from the medical providers or institutions. According to Andrew Fitch, a contributor to NerdWallet.com, your ability to read, understand, and organize your medical bills and itemized statements can make a real difference in your ability to work with your bills.
Always keep track of your documents and do everything in your power to make sure they’re accurate, meaning you haven’t been charged for something you didn’t have or billed twice for the same thing. These types of mistakes happen often, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the administrative side of your medical bills.
Negotiate When You Can
Although you may think that what you’re charged is what you’re charged and you’re going to have to pay that amount, it actually is possible to negotiate down your medical bills on occasion. However, this isn’t an easy task, so if you’re going to take this path, Lacie Glover, a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, recommends making sure you know what you’re talking about before starting the negotiation process. This includes knowing your own insurance information as well as what the fair pricing of your care is. Read your insurance policies well and gather all relevant information about your procedures prior to getting into any negotiations.
Find Out Your Payment Options
Once you get your bill, paying the entire amount in one lump sum isn’t your only option. According to Caroline Mayer, a contributor to Forbes.com, there are usually a few payment options that are relatively easy to set up with medical providers. Payment plans are fairly common and allow you to pay the amount over a period of months. You can also inquire about getting a discount for paying the entire amount immediately or asking about discounts on the price of certain charges. You never know if you don’t ask, so take the chance to see if alternative payment options are available.
If you have medical bills you’re struggling to manage, consider using some of the tips mentioned above to get a better handle on this aspect of your debt.