Dealing with Medical Debt in New Jersey

medical debt in New Jersey

Medical debt can make you feel like you’re standing in a caving, intimidating hole with no way out. In what seems like seconds, medical bills accumulate until you’ve found yourself in a virtual gaping void of debt. In 2007, medical bills were the cause of over half of the filed bankruptcies in the United States, according to the American Journal of Medicine. Believe it or not, 80% of those who filed actually had health insurance as well as minimal debt when compared with those who filed without having health insurance. Unfortunately, we aren’t invincible, and expenses, especially medical bills, can cripple us. On the bright side, we have some tips that may just be the light and end of the tunnel.

1.      Face the Facts

The first and most effortless change that you should make immediately is to simply get out of denial. With every medical bill that is ignored, you’re digging yourself deeper into trouble, therefore ignorance is not the key. Because medical providers will only allow bills to pile up for a short amount of time, it won’t be long until your debt is forwarded to a collection agency. Once a collection agency receives your overdue debt information, it gets posted on your credit report, which ultimately hurts your credit score and future financial endeavors.

As you are looking over your medical bill(s), beware of any incorrect charges. Innumerable bills get sent out by medical providers each day, making mistakes inevitable. It’s possible that you were charged for a five-day stay in the hospital, when you really only stayed for three. If you spot an inappropriate charge, make haste and contact your medical provider’s billing department.

2.      Handling Health Insurance

Your health insurance company is responsible for taking care of certain charges. Make sure you check that your insurance company took care of the necessary charges. If a specific treatment is covered under your plan, the insurance company may still deny the claim which means the medical provider will end up adding that to your bill. If it’s a simple error, it shouldn’t be hard to fix. If your insurance company is trying to get out of paying for something, the task ahead may be more difficult. In most cases, you can appeal a claim, which requires you to submit evidence as to why your insurance company should pay for the treatment or service. If the evidence is valid, or you obtain a letter from your doctor regarding the necessary treatment, there is a possibility the denial could be overturned. Taking a proactive approach could save you a ton of money and damage to your credit score.

3.      Negate the Negative Assumption

Unfortunately, insurance companies think most of their clients are uneducated. In some cases, this is may be true. Medical service providers have pricing structures that waver quite a bit. If a hospital attempts to charge $1,000 for one prescription, you have permission to negotiate it. Since they assume that you have no idea about what you’re being billed for, medical providers will take advantage. If you work with them and let them know that you are unable to pay for the entire charge, but can cover some of it, they will be more cooperative than if you flat out refuse to pay. It’s possible that you may not feel comfortable negotiating, in which case, professional debt relief assistance is available in New Jersey.

4.      Communication is Key

If you are unable to pay off your bill in one lump sum, contact your doctor’s office to let them know that you are working with your insurance company to get the bill paid off. The billing department will be thankful and cooperative if you maintain an open line of communication. In a situation where you’re responsible for the entire bill, request a payment plan from your doctor’s office and be sure to review the budget. Don’t commit to a plan that you can’t afford.

5.      Pay It Off

Our final tip for you is simple: pay off the bills. We understand that this task is easier said than done. Take care of the small medical bills and work your way through the larger ones. Medical providers will appreciate your efforts much more than full ignorance. Once you have a plan and begin paying the bills, pay them on time every month.

Quick to build up but slow to get rid of describes not just medical debt, but many facets of life. Fortunately, it’s not impossible to deal with medical debt, but like many things, you have to take the first daunting step. We are here to help guide you through the process should you need our advice and/or assistance. If, even after taking the above steps, it seems unlikely that you will be able to pay off your medical debt, talk to Veitengruber Law about medical debt relief through chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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