How Can you Reduce your Medical Debt?
Health care costs in the U.S have skyrocketed in the recent years. If you are one of those few lucky people who have sufficient medical insurance coverage then this might not be a major concern for you. However, a large number of people are experiencing financial crunch since recession and find it difficult to allot funds for medical insurance. Thousands have sub par medical insurance plans while many others do not have any insurance cover at all. Sudden medical emergencies can compel these people to look for debt consolidation options. There is no need to worry though. There are financial aid programs available for people who are in monetary trouble. Most hospitals have a financial assistance department which can forgive medical bills partly or even completely.
Check if you are eligible for reduction in medical bills
If your annual income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level, only then you would qualify for complete elimination of your medical bills. However, if you do not meet the requirement, you would still be eligible for a reduced bill. Usually, if your medical bill is more than 30% of your annual income, the financial aid department of the concerned hospital will come to your rescue.
You should keep in mind that medical debt to income ratio can vary with hospitals. Also, you would qualify for financial assistance from hospitals only when all your options are exhausted. For instance, you can’t expect any aid if you have not used your medical insurance or have not applied for public medical benefits.
How to apply for reduction in bills
To begin with, you have to find out whether the hospital maintains a financial assistance department or not. Ask the billing office or enquiry section to clear your doubt. If the hospital has provisions of providing assistance to financially struggling patients then you have to submit documents to prove your annual income. You would also need to inform the hospital authorities about all your assets including your savings accounts, CDs, IRAs etc. In case you are jobless or do not have any assets, the financial aid department will make you sign an affidavit stating that fact.
If you want your medical debt to be forgiven then you would need to contact the hospital within 6-12 months. Otherwise, your chance will be lost.
Reducing your medical bills is not as difficult as you think
Applying for reduction in medical bills does take a few hours of intimidating paper work but it can save you a lot of money at a time when you need it the most. You might feel lost amidst all the paperwork and but do not lose hope. Your medical bills can be reduced more easily than you think but you have to be persistent and patient for it.
Medical debt can be a financial as well as psychological blow to you and can distress you immensely. In this situation, the reductions in your medical bills can save your day. So make sure to look for financial aid programs if you are facing mammoth medical bills but can’t afford to make the payments.