Medical debt can be the cause of severe anxiety and could have detrimental effects on the financial stability of an individual or a family. Some Michigan residents may not realize that people of any income group can find their medical debt to become overwhelming. It has also been reported that this problem does not only affect those without health insurance.

In order to manage medical debt, there are a few things one can do. If a planned hospitalization is not an emergency, a person could have an open discussion with the care provider before treatment commences, to establish the expected costs and what part will be covered by insurance. Individuals are advised to be honest about their financial situation and negotiate a plan of payment to avoid being financially over-extended. A person can save significantly by asking the doctor or hospital to accept Medicare rates, rather than private rates

Medical bills should be carefully checked for errors and compared to the benefits as explained by the insurer, and it may help to check whether the insurer’s portion has been paid and is reflected on the hospital bill. Consumers may want to avoid using credit cards to settle medical bills, as interest rates on credit cards are very high. Special credit cards offered by doctors have been found to be suspected of being fraudulent and should likely be avoided.

Michigan residents whose medical conditions make it difficult to maintain control of their medical debt, or even those who find the whole process intimidating, may not know how to proceed. However, help to find a fresh financial start is available. If the medical debt has become overwhelming, they may want to consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy and thereby have their medical debt discharged, along with other unsecured debts.

Source: The Washington Post, “What To Do About Medical Debt“, Lexie Verdon, April 25, 2014

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