Insider secret #4

by cccozarks

Most people prefer to leave the hospital feeling better than when they entered. However, with today’s cost of health care, and an increasing amount of that cost being passed along to the consumer, the discharged patient may exit with a financial nightmare looming in the distance.

Through the years hundreds of clients have sought us out to assist with concerns about paying their medical debt. As a matter of fact, it is one of the main reasons our company started over 40 years ago. Clients feel an obligation for paying the physician and health care facility. Here is the insider tips for dealing with medical debt:

  • Use caution when applying for a medical credit card that transfers all of the debt away from the provider and onto the new credit card account. The medical debt with the provider may not carry any interest with it however, the credit card will. Medical providers will offer such a card to the individual who is struggling to make the medical payments on time. Hello! If a person cannot pay the hospital on time, how will they pay a medical credit card in a timely fashion( which often results in double-digit interest being assessed on the debt)? Oh and don’t forget this, the medical provider may not report delinquencies to a credit bureau, the credit card issuer will. Don’t be rushed into signing ANYTHING!


  • Go over your bill with care, noting any items you do not understand, as well as any charges you want to question. Estimates show that an extremely high percentage of medical bills contain errors, and it is highly unlikely that the error will be in your favor. Watch for duplicate billing for the same service. You will likely receive separate bills for separate service providers. Wait until all the bills are in and review them thoroughly. The time spent confirming all charges can save you hundreds of dollars.


  • Inquire to see if you qualify for any type of charity or other write-downs. This is a necessary step for the uninsured, but even those who don’t have a “Cadillac” health insurance plan. If you are underinsured you might qualify for a partial reduction in your bill. The NFCC suggest to start by asking what the fee would be if you were a Medicare patient. Don’t be surprised if it’s as much as 50 percent less than what you were charged. You will have to work out separate payment arrangement for the remaining amount. This will be time well-spent.


  • Make sure you understand what you should be paying and what your insurance company is responsible for. Stay in the loop, making certain that payments are being disbursed on time. Many people don’t understand that the ultimate responsibility for payment lies with them. Therefore, you’ll want to stay on top of any dispute between the provider and your insurance company. I have received medial bills before because the insurance hadn’t paid it yet. Luckily I called the insurance company and they took care of it. You are responsible for managing this process.


  • Have a friend or family member advocate for you. Don’t be ashamed to ask for assistance especially if your judgment may be temporarily impaired. By all means do not be pressured into signing or agreeing to anything until your advocate has a chance to review the situation fully.