According to new data in 2021, half of Americans have medical debt. Millions of people are experiencing difficulty paying off their medical bills as a result of a broken system. It’s a growing burden that affects many, even just one medical emergency can take a huge toll on your finances.
After suffering a critical injury, falling ill, or getting diagnosed with a health condition, the last thing you should have to worry about is the ability to pay for your hospital bills. Unfortunately, with how the health care system operates, you’ll have to be prepared to negotiate. Expect the worst outcome, but hope for the best. If you’re looking to learn a few tips on how to lower and manage your hospital bills, you’ve come to the right place.
In This Article
Evaluate your personal finances
The first step to managing your hospital bills is taking a look at your finances. Take a long, hard look at your finances and see how much money comes in and out of your account each month. Use WealthRocket.com as a resource to see if you’re overspending, and learn financial information from actual experts.
You can check out a Wealth Rocket article to find the best bank accounts and reputable financial institutions. Wealth Rocket is a great website for beginners to learn more about establishing financial goals, finding the right budget tools, and reducing anxieties about managing money in general. After you assess your personal finances, you’ll be able to see how much you can afford when it comes to any medical expenses.
Get your hospital bill itemized
This way, you can check to see if there are any errors or if you’re being incorrectly charged for treatments you didn’t receive. Most of the time, a lot of the charges that are made are not billable. So, when you ask for an itemized bill, you’re likely getting a huge reduction. Get in touch with the billing department and ask for a detailed breakdown. Check the bill from your insurance company and make sure everything adds up accurately. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the charges. You need to know what they’re charging and why. Watch out for any duplicate items, and be sure to ask the billing department to correct any potential mistakes.
Negotiate the rates and ask about payment plans
Some people don’t realize that they can negotiate their hospital bills. If you’re trying to speak to a hospital in Carthage, NY about your bills, it may be best to contact their billing department and talk to them about your income. Reach out and mention that realistically, you can’t afford to pay the whole bill. As long as you’re nice about it, they might give you a reduction. People without health insurance are often given some grace when it comes to billing as well. Don’t be afraid to be transparent about whether you’ll be having a difficult time paying for any medical expenses. Billing departments understand that everyone has a different financial situation and a lot of them offer payment plans so that it’s more realistic for you to pay on time.
Consider opening a health savings account
If you’ve developed a chronic condition and foresee more health expenses in the future, it may be worth it to consider opening a health savings account or a flexible spending account. This is a great way to set aside some money for expenses that your health insurance doesn’t cover. Plus, your contributions can grow tax-free. As long as you spend the money on medical expenses, you should be able to withdraw your money without taxation either.
Considering how much it costs to get medical treatment, it’s important to include potential medical debt into your emergency fund. Always set aside a percentage of your paycheck for any unforeseen circumstances. That way, a medical emergency doesn’t prevent you from reaching any long-term financial goals.