How can you pay off medical debt if the whole country is struggling in the middle of a financial crisis? You’re probably tired of reading about the coronavirus pandemic – the virus that has crippled the whole world. While it is primarily a health crisis, it has evolved into so much worse than that. This is not to scare you but to tell you of the reality that we are facing. It is not something that you need to brush off. It is a serious matter that we need to face and tackle head-on. Because the truth is, we can fight this. But you need to know what you are doing in order to beat this.
Whether you like it or not, this health crisis will affect you financially. While experts may say that we are poised to go into recession anyway, the virus pushed it to finally happen. There was no more time to adjust and prepare for it. The recession is upon us and there’s nothing we can do but to brace for it.
While the recession is bad enough, there is still one thing that is making it worse – the medical bills that are currently accumulating across the country.
About the rising medical debt
What is causing the rise in medical debts? Well, there are a couple of truths you need to know about this debt.
High healthcare cost
Before the COVID-19 threatened the health of the country, 1 out of 7 families was already struggling with their medical debts. The health care system in the company is unbelievably expensive. Even with health insurance, families are still burdened with expensive out-of-pocket costs.
According to the same report, that statistic declined slightly from 2011 to 2018. But we can assume that it will now be a lot bigger. This is because of the second truth that you need to know about the rising medical debt.
Difficult battle with an unknown virus
Paying for a treatment that will cure a common illness is expensive enough. But what if it is something new that we have never encountered before? You can bet that it will cost you so much more. The treatment will take longer and that will prolong the confinement. That means more medical bills.
And what about the actual cost of the treatment? Reports reveal that almost half of Americans who have health insurance still feel like they cannot afford to get sick because of COVID-19. The same findings also mentioned that those who were tested and proven to the negative still got a medical bill of $3,000! Imagine how much you have to pay if you were positive and confined because of the virus?
How can you completely recover if you have to think about paying off medical debt right after? The stress alone can really put a toll on your health.
Various ways you can pay off medical debt
If you do get sick or you have existing medical bills to pay off, don’t worry. You have a lot of options to get out of debt. You just have to get to know your options so you can choose the right strategy to pay off medical debt.
Here are the options that you have.
Payment plan with the medical provider
Your first option is to go to your medical provider or the treatment facility and ask them for a repayment plan. Most clinics, hospitals or medical facilities have programs that will help their patients pay them back. Because your inability to pay off medical debt is not something new. They know that the high cost of health care will make it hard to pay back even the out-of-pocket costs. So you can expect that they will be more than willing to work with you on your payments. It will not just make things easier for patients. It will also increase the chances that the medical service providers will be paid back.
Usually, this repayment plan is a fixed amount that is spread over a period of time so it should be easier to complete your payments.
Medical credit cards
Another option for you to pay off medical debt is through credit cards. There are specific credit cards that you can use to pay for medical procedures – but not all are covered. You can ask your medical service provider about this. They usually have applications on hand. This is an alternative if the clinic or facility you went to does not have a repayment program. These cards usually offer an interest-free period. It can last from 6 to 12 months. If you can pay off your debt within that time, it makes sense to open the account. But if not, the deferred interest rate might make the debt more costly.
Balance transfer card
You can also get a 0% interest rate balance transfer card to help pay off medical debt. This will allow you to pay your dues without worrying about the additional interest rate. Usually, a balance transfer card will lead to at least 6 months of 0% interest on your debt. Sometimes, it can last for more than a year. If you think that you can pay your medical debt within this period, then transfer your debt into this card. You may be required to pay a balance transfer fee – which is usually 3% of the balance you transferred. Do the calculations to see if this will be worth it. If yes, then just pay the fee and pay your debt without any interest.
Using an unsecured loan is also another strategy you can use. This is usually a good idea if you have a good credit score. That way, you can get a low-interest loan that will help you pay off medical debt. At least, it will be a lot cheaper than using your credit card to pay off the debt.
When borrowing a personal loan, make sure that you only get what you need to pay off the debt. Nothing more. Sometimes, it can be tempting to borrow more because you are qualified to. But it’s not a good idea. You will just make your debt unnecessarily bigger. And it will take longer to completely pay it all off. Don’t add to the stress you are feeling because that can make your medical condition worse.
The final option that you have is to use debt negotiation. This means you will talk to the medical service provider and ask them to reduce your debts. You can hire a professional to do this for you. Make sure you get a company that has a history of negotiating medical debts. These professionals are called medical bill advocates. They can help go over your bills and see errors or overcharges that can be negotiated. They know how to read these bills and the costs that should have been charged. You will be sure to benefit from their existing working relationship with medical service providers. The familiarity will make it easier for them to negotiate the debt for you. Of course, there are also other debt-relief companies that can cater to medical debts. So don’t limit yourself.If you are not you can also do this on your own. But you have to follow certain rules during credit negotiation. Like making sure that you know what you are doing by doing your research beforehand. It is also important for you to understand your rights. If you do this correctly, you will successfully reduce and pay off medical debt in no time.