Have you ever had a situation where you were uninsured or under-insured and got hit with a massive medical bill? If so, welcome to the club! There are hundreds of thousands of people that run into this problem every year with medical expenses. The problem is that typically when one does not have medical insurance or is under-insured, there is an underlying reason for that within’ their budget. Whether it be not enough income or the refusal to pay high medical premiums, this will stop you from addressing your medical bill obligations. If this is you, there are ways to take care of your medical bills without a one-time payment or letting it go to collections. We will discuss the many ways you can protect yourself from unexpected medical cost and come out of it in a good place financially. Let’s begin!
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Check Medical Bill for Accuracy
When you get a medical bill, the first thing you should do is make sure it is accurate. Check all of the work performed listed on the bill. Make sure the bill is specifically intended for you. Also if insurance was used, make sure the cost shown is accurate after insurance is applied. Lastly, this may sound like common sense, but make sure the bill is real. Yes, people are sending fake medical bills to people and they are paying them out of the fear it may drastically hurt their credit. Be sure to do your research before and and make sure the bill is accurate and reflects the actual services offered.
If it is inaccurate, then you should reach out to the hospital that you went to immediately. This needs to be addressed as soon as possible so it can be corrected before it’s too late. The last thing you want is for an unjustified charge to hit your pocketbook or even worse, land on your credit report from letting it sit too long unattended. If you did wait too long and the bill is on your credit report as a collection item, it’s not the end of the line. You can still dispute the charge if it was in fact inaccurate. Disputing the bill will force the hospital to prove those charges really do belong to you beyond a reasonable doubt. To file a dispute, visit How to start a credit dispute to learn how.
Pay Them ASAP
Try your best to your medical bills as soon as possible. While this is typically a lot of money if uninsured or under-insured, it will save you some major headaches down the line from not addressing the problems. It will also save you from even more potential fees associated with the debt. It sounds good on paper, but I’m almost certain that if you’re here, you probably let the bill go juuust a little bit past due. While this is okay and won’t hurt you yet, do no let it progress further. Take action on your medical bill that’s due ASAP and avoid having to do a lot more down the line. You will thank The Credit Dojo later.
What To Do If Medical Bill Goes To Collections
If the medical bill hist collections, there is no need to panic quite yet. While a collection item on your credit report looks bad to potential lenders, it is not the end of the world. There are still plenty of ways to address these items. You can do one of the following:
Speak directly with the Accounts Receivable Department of the hospital
if you want to avoid collections all together, this would be a good starting point. At the end of the day, all they want is money. depending on how you describe your situation to the Accounts Receivable team, they can work with you in ways you didn’t believe was possible. They will take much smaller monthly payments or even in some cases reduce the total amount owed. Try this before putting in more effort with the other methods for addressing a medical bill
Speak to the collections agency and ask for a Pay For Deletion in writing
If you plan to go this route, no matter what, MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS IN WRITING! Sorry, I had to emphasize the importance of this as in some cases, people were told one thing over the phone, but in reality had to deal with the blemish on their credit report for 7 years due to the creditor not holding up to their end of the bargain. Make sure if this type of agreement is made, it is clear in writing. A sample Pay for Deletion letter can be found in the sites download section, or by clicking HERE.
Pay, then send goodwill letter
If you do end up paying the bill in full, this is not the end of the line. You still have options to fix the situation and rid yourself of that negative mark reported by the creditor. You can send a goodwill letter to the creditor explaining your situation and how you fell behind. Typically if you have a valid enough reason, they will remove the mark from you credit report altogether seeing as the financial obligation has been satisfied
Dispute the item with the credit bureau
This is the absolute last resort that you’ll want to take when dealing with the collection agencies. If all of the above has failed and you still have this item on your credit report, dispute the item either via the mail, over the phone or through the credit bureaus online dispute forms (every credit bureau now allows you to dispute almost anything online). For more information on how to initiate a credit dispute, check out the article on How to start a credit dispute.
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Don’t Let A Medical Bill Hinder You
Don’t let a financial obligation in relation to a medical bill hurt your good financial standing (credit). Take action to ensure it is paid in a timely manner. Be sure to utilize the tactics that are listed in this article to prevent or erase any negative mark on your credit. Thank you for visiting The Credit Dojo. Look out for more articles coming soon based on real world experience and professional research. While waiting, if you need to monitor your credit, visit Credit Sesame.
If you wish to learn more about credit, then visit the following articles for more information: