Getting the hospital bill in the mail can be a shocker regardless of emergency treatment or planned visit. You may find yourself stuck owing a lot of money even with health insurance. Emergency procedures, specialized treatments, and physician visits can add up quickly, even if you are only in for a few hours. If you’ve received an overwhelming hospital bill in the mail, don’t panic. Below we outline some ways that you can deal with the high cost of medical care.
Review Your Bill
Errors can also be found in hospital bills. There is a possibility of them billing you for a treatment you did not receive. Another mistake can be the hospital charging you more than what you should be paying. Make sure you check the dates so as to be sure you were still in the hospital when the bill was made. Thoroughly review your invoice and try to speak to the billing department of the hospital if you have any questions or you notice any error.
If you have a planned visit to the hospital, such as when you have a baby, be sure to keep a log of what services you, or your loved one, received. Ask questions of the nurses and physicians when they are administering treatments or providing services, such as X-rays or MRIs. By keeping a written log, it gives you a tool to double check the hospital bill when it comes in.
Ask For Help with Your Payments
There are some hospitals that offer financing programs to lower income individuals and families who cannot afford or do not have insurance or still have a balance due after their insurance coverage kcked in. You may be asked to complete an application and submit tax returns, paycheck stubs, and other proof of income. Some hospitals may even offer a bill reduction plan, based on your income or other factors. Ask the hospital to see what options may be available to you.
Work Out a Payment Arrangement
Uninsured and underinsured families are found as patients in the hospital. You can ask about a payment plan from the hospital if you are not able to pay your bill in full. Ask for the one that does not carry interest. Some form of monthly payments are offered by many hospitals, be sure to find out what programs they have in place.
Be sure to review your monthly budget to determine how much you can afford each month. If the hospital asks for an installment payment that is higher than what you can afford, don’t be afraid to negotiate this down to a lesser amount.
Some hospitals may offer payment arrangements that provide some form of debt reduction. While these may carry a monthly interest charge, it can be highly beneficial for you if they are willing to forgive part of your balance due.
Trips to the hospital might be inevitable, but we can always do something about what we owe. Make sure you do something about your debt as soon as possible. Never ignore or push aside your hospital bills. Keeping in touch with the hospital is equally important. If you are looking to negotiate a payment plan or debt reduction, your attitude towards attempting to pay the bill can go a long way.
Pay with a Credit Card
Most credit card companies charge a much higher interest rate which means paying your hospital bill with a credit card is not a good option. However, if you are able to obtain a zero-interest credit card, this may be a viable option. Just be sure to understand how long the interest rate will remain at zero. If it increases before you pay your debt off, it can cost you a good amount in interest payments.
Take Out a Loan
You may be of advantage to take out a personal loan at a bank if you have a strong credit score. If your loan has a lower interest rate than what the healthcare facility would charge you, a personal loan may be a great option.
Families are often left with a sizable debt to pay with hospital bills sky rocketing. Even if you have insurance, you may still owe. By being proactive, you can be successful in managing what you are billed for and how you will make monthly payments.