Making It Easier to Afford Medical Bills
What You Should Know When Facing Medical Bills
Accidents or illness can happen quickly and unexpectedly. Further, many who are hospitalized may find themselves not being able to work for some time. No work and medical bills can create a “double whammy” effect. All of this can create an enormous amount of stress and financial hardship for you and your family.
While this time in your life can be very difficult, there may be ways to make bills easier to afford. Read on to learn about possible options for managing your finances while you or your family members recover.
Help With Credit Card Bills
Before we look at medical bills, know that you may be able to get help with your credit card bills during this tough time, too. When you discover that you are unable to make payments to your credit card company, don't be afraid to contact them to ask for help.
Understand that credit card companies may want to work with you and offer what help they can during difficult and challenging times. Contact your credit card company as soon as you can. After learning about your circumstances, your credit card company may offer to waive fees or offer a custom payment plan.
Only share the details that you are most comfortable sharing. Don't let the fear of having to share more than you are comfortable with prevent you from seeking help from your credit card company.
Help With Medical Bills
Sometimes when faced with an emergency medical situation, you may end up in a hospital that is outside of your insurance network, or the physician or surgeon may be outside of the network. If this is the case, then the hospital could end up billing you directly instead of the bills going to your insurance provider. This is called surprise billing.
If you live in any of the following states: California, Illinois, Florida, New York, or Connecticut, your state may require health care providers to charge the in-network rate, even if they’re out-of-network. You can check this tool to see what protections may exist for surprise billing in your state.
You may also get charged for balance billing or extra billing. When there is a difference in what your insurance provider covers and the total hospital bill, you may be charged the remaining amount. Sometimes balance billing costs are small amounts, while other times they can be substantial. If you receive such a bill, contact your insurance company to determine if there has been confusion between them and the hospital.
Finally, if you have received unexpected medical bills that are confusing to understand, there are resources available that can help you. CoPatient.com will review your medical bills, and if errors are found, they will negotiate with the health care provider to reduce excessive or unnecessary billing. If you are unsure of how to pick an insurance plan, Healthcare.gov has information that can help you decide how to pick one that is suitable for your needs.
Work With Hospitals
If you do not have health insurance or your coverage still leaves you with bills you can’t afford, you can speak with the hospital about financial relief. Hospitals and health care providers may reduce your bills if you do not have insurance. Or the hospital may offer a zero percent interest repayment plan. While this option will not reduce the bill, it can allow you to more easily pay your medical bills without a finance charge.
Another option for helping you to pay unexpected medical bills would be to look for organizations beyond an insurance company or hospital. Several programs exist to help people afford medical costs. Major organizations that may be able to help individuals who can't afford medical bills include the Healthwell Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the CancerCare Copay Assistance Foundation. As with any type of financial assistance, eligibility requirements apply.
If you are suffering from a chronic disease, you can discover organizations dedicated to helping those with a specific disease as well as help pay for expensive prescription medications.
- The Aubrey Rose Foundation helps those with heart conditions.
- The Jamie's Heart Foundation helps children with congenital heart disease.
- The Abbott Patient Assistance Foundation helps patients with diabetes medication.
- The Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Relief Grant program offers financial grants for families with Alzheimer's disease.
- The Kidney Fund helps with dialysis and medication.
- The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps with low-cost or free medication for COPD, diabetes, cardiovascular, and other chronic diseases. If you are in the military and if someone in your family is in the hospital, the Fisher House offers lodging, hotel, and airfare assistance, often for free or greatly discounted prices.
You can also reach out to smaller organizations that work with people at the local level. For example, The United Way is one resource for medical assistance. Although the organization does not help pay medical bills directly, it may be able to help you find resources that do help with financial assistance. To find local nonprofits that offer this help, search for your city's name along with "medical assistance nonprofit." You may be surprised to learn what type of help is available.
Experiencing a medical emergency and loss of income can be stressful; however, hopefully knowing that resources may be available to help you during this time is uplifting. Taking the time to read this article is a positive step in the direction toward reducing and eliminating your medical debt.
We hope that you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.