9 tips for dealing with medical debt

A broken bone, mental health therapy, a long-term illness, a car accident, a premature baby. All of these situations—and so many more unexpected ones—can land a family in medical debt. According to Wikipedia, “Medical debt is different from other forms of debt, because it is usually incurred accidentally or faultlessly. People do not plan to fall ill or hurt themselves, and health care remedies are often unavoidable…” A family can’t comparison shop for a needed surgery or delay treatment for cancer until they have the money to pay for it in full. When most people think of medical debt, they think of a person or family with no health insurance at all, yet a large percentage of Americans who have incurred medical debt actually do possess health insurance (also known as the “underinsured”). According to a recently released Kaiser Family Foundation study, 70 percent of those with medical debt were insured, and their financial struggles arose from cost-sharing and other out-of-pocket expenses. If you find yourself facing medical debt, here are some steps and options to consider. 1. Make sure the amounts you are being billed are correct. Doctors, nurses, medical billers, and other staff can make mistakes in billing, so verify you are being charged for services you actually received. If you have insurance, call your insurance company to confirm that all itemized amounts have been written off correctly in accordance with your policy. 2. Contact your medical provider. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to ignore their medical bills. Bob Dahlseng, Certified Financial Counselor at The Village Family Service Center, advises people… Read the full story on The Village Family Magazine website.

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