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Tips for Paying Off Outstanding Medical Bills


When there’s an illness or unexpected injury to a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is money. Once the illness or injury is diagnosed and treated, the cost will undoubtedly need to be addressed. Carrying enough insurance will substantially alleviate your problem, but if the situation is long term, you don’t have insurance, or your deductible is high, those bills could quickly pile up. When that happens, you may need some tips on how to go about paying those outstanding medical bills.

Don’t Put It Off

As soon as a medical bill arrives, get in touch with the doctor’s office or hospital. They work on a daily basis with people who have trouble paying their bills. Arrangements could be made to pay the debt off in increments instead of all at once. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; it’ll just force them to take action. They’re owed a debt and have a right to collect. Make it easy on both of you by dealing with the situation as quickly as possible.

Look for Payment Options

Doctors and hospitals are used to dealing with insurance companies. They’re also used to treating people who aren’t completely covered by insurance. Payment plans can usually be worked out but be sure the plan you agree to is reasonable and something you can budget for. Even if you agree to pay only $10 per month–the important thing is that you agree to pay something. If you set up a payment plan and get behind, be sure to let the creditor know that you’re in trouble. They may be willing to renegotiate your payment plan.

Ask for a Reduction

If you don’t have insurance, you may be able to get your doctor or hospital bill reduced. Many health care facilities have two different rates–one for people with insurance and one for people with no insurance. If rates like that aren’t in place, you may have to ask for a reduction. You can do so with a written request or by calling the billing department of the facility you owe money to. Explain that you have no insurance, but that you are very eager to get the bill taken care of. Then, ask if they would be willing to provide reduced rate or a percent discount.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Unexpected medical bills, especially if they’re the result of an ongoing problem that causes stress, such as a terminally ill family member or a child with a disabling disease, are particularly difficult to handle. The double whammy of dealing with the money problems on top of the emotional trauma could be eased by receiving help from a charity program. Many hospitals can assist by giving you contact information for available charities. There are also government programs that could help. Don’t be afraid to ask for financial aid. It’ll free you up to concentrate on the care and healing of your loved one.

Settlement Options

If worst comes to worst and you find yourself truly unable to meet your financial obligations, consider offering to settle the account. A lot of doctors and hospitals will be willing to take a partial payment so they can clear their books. They frequently contract with collection agencies for unpaid medical bills and receive only a portion of the original bill anyway. They’re further ahead dealing directly with you. Don’t be ashamed to approach them and ask for a settlement. You won’t be the first to do so.

Medical Bills and Your Credit

Paying off a medical bill or making arrangements to do so as soon as possible is advisable. Hospitals and physicians have no qualms about sending your debt to a collection agency. If your medical bill is delinquent, sent to collections, or charged off, it will hurt your credit score. You can also lower your credit score if you settle for less than you owe. Settling is not the same as getting a reduced rate, so contact the medical office as soon as possible if you would like to pay less than the amount due. A reduced rate will not harm your credit score like settling would.


Bailey Harris writes about health insurance companies, finance, and related topics for www.healthinsurancequotes.org.

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One Response to “Tips for Paying Off Outstanding Medical Bills”

  1. Peter Paul on March 7th, 2011 8:19 pm

    Wow, an article that states the different options available for paying your medical bills.

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