While we might like to think that we can plan our entire lives and always have complete control over our finances, this just simply isn’t the case for most people. At one point or another, there’s going to something unexpected that creeps up on you, forcing you to address it before you’re able to move forward with your life.
For many people, this situation will present itself in the form of a medical emergency. So if you find yourself in this predicament, with a huge medical bill staring you in the face and no idea how you’re going to pay it off, here are three things you should do immediately after you receive the bill:
Double- and Triple-Check The Bill For Accuracy
Although you might be shocked at how large your medical bill is, it’s important that you don’t allow this to overwhelm you to the point that you’re not able to think rationally about it. As part of this, Patty Lamberti, a contributor to Money Under 30, reminds you to double- and even triple-check the entire bill for accuracy.
If there’s a double-charge or a charge for something that you don’t think is applicable to you, make sure you call the doctor or your insurance so you can challenge it. In many cases, if you bring a mistake to their attention, the office will simply delete that charge.
So before you just pay the bill exactly as it’s been sent to you, make sure you’re only paying for the things you actually used or had done.
Try To Negotiate
Once you’re settled on how much of the bill your doctor and their office are requiring you to pay, you still might find that you simply can’t afford it. In situations like these, Holly Johnson, a contributor to The Simple Dollar, recommends that you try to speak with the financial or billing department and seek a negotiation.
In some circumstances, you might be able to get a discount if you can pay the majority of the bill in cash. Other times, you might benefit by explaining to the billing department about your financial situation and seeing if they can take off some of the charges for you. While this isn’t a guarantee, it’s worth a try.
Speak With The Office About A Payment Plan
When you’re ready to start paying off your medical bill, you might find that the best option for you is to work out a repayment plan with the doctor and their office. Latoya Irby, a contributor to The Balance, advises that you only accept the terms of the repayment plan if you know you’ll be able to afford them. Otherwise, you could find yourself in trouble with debt collectors.
If you get saddled with a large medical bill, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you deal with it.