19 Apr Fighting Medical Bills. Click to keep reading…
If you are lucky enough to be employed and insured by a major provider, you may not need to use these Consumer Reports tips on how to fight large medical bills. If you have experienced a medical emergency, these tips may come in handy. A leading cause of bankruptcy is debt related to medical care. Medical debt can appear on your credit report in as few as 180 days, so if you have received bills that you may dispute, you should notify the doctor or hospital immediately and request an extension.
Here are some additional tips that might help you navigate medical billing:
- If you are insured, wait until you get an “Explanation of Benefits” from the insurer that itemizes what they are paying and what you’ll owe. If you have questions, contact your insurer right away
- Ask for an itemized bill from your insurer to be sure that the charges are correct, duplicate charges, or charges for services that you did not receive
- Do some comparison shopping. For legitimate charges, try to track down the industry standard pricing, and report overcharges to your insurer and your doctor. If some of the costs related to your care were not covered by your insurance, ask your doctor to advocate for you with the insurance company. If you still owe money to the provider, ask that the cost be lowered. Some people have had luck offering to pay the reduced bill in its entirety in a timely manner. Otherwise, you could also ask for a payment plan. Most providers will charge you a lower interest rate and your credit rating will not suffer
- Reach out to a medical billing specialist though Professional Health advocates (advoconnection.com) or work with an attorney to try and resolve large medical bill disputes
- Additionally, you may be eligible for charitable care. Contact Dollar For (dollarfor.org) to learn more about debt forgiveness programs.
Learn more at Consumer Reports.