What Can I Do About My Past Due Medical Bills?0
Medical bills, though not the same as credit card debt often incurred through irresponsible spending, can still affect your credit score. The impact on your credit is most significant when accounts go more than 90 days past due. If you have unpaid bills that have reached a medical bill collections agency, consider taking the following steps to lower your debt and protect your credit score:
1. Contact your healthcare provider or the medical collection agency responsible for your account. Request an itemized statement and make sure that what you’re being charged for is accurate. Patients are often erroneously over-billed or charged for services that they didn’t receive.
2. Contact your insurance provider to find out whether they might cover some of your medical expenses. Oftentimes, medical claims get denied due to missing or inaccurate information. Though providers sometimes end up refilling the claims or writing the bills off, the service fees sometimes get passed on to patients. If you think that your insurance provider should be responsible for some of the services you’re being charged for, contact them to find out.
3. Suggest a settlement or work out a payment plan. Medical bill collections agencies will often settle for a lower sum if you offer to make a lump-sum payment. Find out what your ‘payoff’ amount is, or make a reasonable offer to the collections company. Paying your medical bill in full this way could be a lot more reasonable than what your current balance is. On the other hand, if can’t afford to come up with the entire ‘payoff’ sum, suggest working out a payment plan with manageable monthly payments.
4. File for bankruptcy. Exhaust all other options first, and consider filing for bankruptcy as a last resort. After you have filed for bankruptcy, be sure to send a letter to the medical collection agency, so that they can stop collection efforts. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you qualify for, your medical bills will either be erased or you will have a reasonable repayment plan set up for you by the courts.