Negotiating Medical Bills With Your Health Insurance
Even for people who have fairly good health and fairly good health insurance, what many people pay out of pocket for their health care tends to be disproportionate to what they can afford on their income. When people have health problems that require them to seek lots of medical attention, regardless of how good your health insurance is, you may wind up with bills that you cannot afford. A study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says that nearly one in five credit reports have medical bills in collections. This can reduce a person’s credit score by anywhere from 40 – 100 points.
Negotiating Medical Bills
One way to avoid going into debt and possible collections for medical bills, is to negotiate medical bills with your health insurance. To avoid getting astronomical bills whose shock may be more damaging than if you did not get the medical care you needed, try to negotiate costs in advance of any medical appointments. If you are not in a situation to negotiate your medical bills in advance, you may negotiate while you are still getting medical care and all the way up to the point where your health care provider and/or insurance sends you your final bill.
In the event you have medical bills that have gone into collections, negotiate with the collection agency or agencies. The sooner you contact a collection agency that has a debt of yours, the better chances you have of preventing this from negatively impacting your credit score. While every collection agency is different and each debt is unique, many of them do not report the debt if you take care of it within 30 days of them contacting you about your debt that is now with them. As well, collection agencies purchase debts for only a fraction of what the actual bill is and will often negotiate a lower amount than what you owe, if you are able and willing to pay it off all at once. Even if you are not in a position to negotiate a payoff, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan and/or lower interest rates, etc.
Providers and Plans
Choosing a health insurance company with the right kind of plan for your particular budget and medical needs is important. It is important to choose an insurance provider and plan that includes your preferred doctors and hospitals as in-network providers. Even with good health insurance plans, patients of out-of-network providers often have to pay those bills in their entirety or with only a small bit of help from their insurance.
Saving Money on Medical Bills
There are many different ways that different individuals can save money on medical bills, before the medical bills arise, while they are accruing, and after the final bills have been sent to you. Your income, where you live, the type of medical care you require, and many other factors will determine exactly how much different money saving strategies will save you.
Be informed. The more you are informed about new health care bill facts the more you may be able to save money on your health bills.
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