How to Handle Medical Bills

Medical bills have been reported to be a leading factor to almost 2 out of every 3 bankruptcy filings in the United States. Medical bills are one of the more frustrating things to deal with for many consumers. Generally speaking, the consumer isn’t even aware of the cost of the service until after the service has already been performed. Also, medical services are vastly important to our health and safety and thus, they are more of a necessity than other types of unsecured debt.

The problem arises in that these bills get extremely high, extremely quick. It’s far too common for a person to have what they thought was a “simple procedure” but when they receive the bill, it’s quickly in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. With all of these issues regarding medical bills, a person should have a gameplan ahead of time to lessen the stress.

  1. Attempt to negotiate the medical bills before the treatment is performed.

In emergency situations, this likely would not be an option due to the urgency of the medical service. However, if you have a planned procedure upcoming, negotiating the cost prior to the services being rendered is definitely possible. Speak with the billing department directly and fully understand what the cost will be. Then speak with your health insurance and figure out your cost will end up being. Then, contact the billing department and explain your situation and why you can’t afford the price presented to you. You might be able to get certain costs reduced or eliminated altogether.

  1. Get a second opinion to see if there is a more cost-effective option

Contact your health insurance provider and get a list of other providers that you are covered with. If you feel that the other facilities can provide you as good as a service as the original facility, contact them and see if they have a lower price than you were quoted from the original facility.

  1. Read your health insurance documents to fully understand what is covered and what is not

The hardest part regarding health insurance seems to be the fact that most people aren’t even sure what their health coverage is. Read your coverage in full---the Summary of Benefits & Coverage. Call the health insurance company and review it with them. Once you fully understand what is covered and what is not covered, you now have a strong basis to understand the bill. Having this understanding will help you make a decision on which route to go and which option is best for you. Here are some important things you should know regarding your insurance:

  1. Coinsurance – The amount of money you are responsible for after your deductible has been met.

  2. Copay – The amount of money you pay for a visit to the medical facility once your deductible has been met.

  3. Deductible – The amount of money you are responsible to pay before your insurance begins paying.

  4. In-network Provider – The doctor, facility, etc., that is in contract with your health insurer to provide you services at a discounted rate.

  5. Out-of-network Provider - The doctor, facility, etc., that is not in contract with your health insurer. This provider will be more costly because you are not given a discounted rate.

  6. Out of pocket maximum limit – The dollar amount designated as the maximum amount of money you are required to pay for health services before your health insurance begins to pay 100% of the covered amount.

  1. Demand an itemized statement for all services rendered and the allocated cost for each service

Hospitals and doctor offices aren’t perfect and sometimes mess up on the bill. You will generally get an Explanation of Benefits after the services have been rendered. Once you receive this, don’t just blindly pay. Call the hospital or doctor’s office and request an itemized statement and review it for errors. Below are some common errors you might see:

  1. Billing Codes are Incorrect – Each provider uses codes on the billing statements. If the code is incorrect, the billing will obviously be incorrect. Thus, you could be charged for additional fees that you don’t even owe.

  2. Wrong Patient or Insurance Information – Review the statement to ensure it is actually for you and not for someone else. Also, confirm that your insurance information is updated and accurately reflected.

  3. Being Double Billed – Situations arise where you pay for a service and the billing department doesn’t verify said payment. They then create a bill charging you for that service, which is a service you have actually already paid for. Thus, you have now been double billed for a service.

  4. Insurance Wrongly Denies Claim – Just as was mentioned above regarding hospitals and doctor offices occasionally messing up on the billing codes, insurance companies might mess up too. An insurance company occasionally will wrongly or accidently deny a claim when in fact it should have been covered.

  5. Preventive Care Charges – It’s possible that you discussed preventive care with your doctor at the scheduled visit. It’s also possible that you wrongly get billed for a separate visit for that and now your bill includes a service on it that was never rendered.

  1. Search out programs for payment assistance

The majority of hospitals have various financial support or charity options to assist with high medical bills. Reach out to the billing department to see which various options your hospital specifically has for you.

  1. Make an offer for paying the bill upfront in return for a discounted price

Just like with most other things, paying up front could provide you with a discounted rate. Ask the billing department if they offer discounts if you are willing pay for the service upfront rather than over a long payment period.

  1. Enter into a payment plan that works with your budget

If nothing else works, entering into a payment plan is generally available to patients who need one. Check your monthly budget and see what you can afford to pay. Contact the billing department and request a payment plan based on that disposable income.

Consider Filing a Bankruptcy

All of the above options are a great start to potentially handling your medical bills. However, sometimes even going through each of those above options, a person is still left with a sizeable amount of medical bills. If that is the case, Bankruptcy might be a way out. Filing for Bankruptcy relief would be a way to eliminate obligations on medical bills when nothing else was able to provide you the relief that you need. Our office has discharged and eliminated over $10,000,000.00 of medical related bills for debtors!

What is a Bankruptcy?

A Bankruptcy filing is a system created by Congress wherein people have the ability to resolve debts when doing so on their own seems impossible. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing is the more common type of filing. In this chapter, the person filing authorizes the Court to liquidate certain non-exempt assets to resolve their debt. In most cases, no assets are actually liquidated. At the end of the case, which generally lasts approximately 3-4 months, the Court issues a Discharge to the Debtor, eliminating their obligations to pay back certain debts. In the alternative, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing is a court-authorized payment plan wherein the person filing pays back certain debts over three to five years. At the end of that period, the Debtor is eligible for a Discharge, which would eliminate obligations on debt, similar to that in a Chapter 7.

What’s Next?

If you do not have the ability to resolve your medical bills by initiating the above strategies, please contact Sacramento Medical Bankruptcy Lawyer Pauldeep Bains by CLICKING HERE or calling 916-800-7690 to schedule your FREE consultation.

Free Consultation

Here at Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer, we set ourselves apart from other firms because we provide direct client to attorney contact from the initial consultation all the way through the discharge in your particular case. We will not pawn your case off to a staff member at any point through the process. When you call Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer, you WILL speak with local Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer Pauldeep Bains. Please call Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer ASAP at 916-800-7690 to schedule your FREE in-person or phone consultation with Pauldeep Bains and let Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer begin getting you the fresh start that you deserve.