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20 Little-Known Ways to Rid Yourself of Medical Debt

Posted By peronalfynance40 102 days ago on Finance - Medical debt can erode your financial stability, but you don’t have to be enslaved to it. There are effective ways to gradually eliminate this debt over a period of time but it will take hard work and determination. One idea would be to enroll in an income-driven hardship plan. Contact your hospital’s medical billing department and request to talk to the billing manager. Then discuss your financial hardship and request a flexible payment plan based on your current income. Here are 20 little-known ways to eliminate medical debt. 1. Find Out if The Debt Is Within Statute of Limitations If your medical debt is within the statute of limitations, then this means that you still owe the debt. However, if it is not within the statute of limitations, then you won’t have to worry about debt collectors coming after you to repay what you owe. In most cases, the statute of limitations is between three to six years although it varies by state and the kind of debt you have. 2. Consider Crowdfunding If your medical debt is for the treatment of a life-threatening condition that still causes health problems for you, then crowdfunding might be an option for you. This especially works if you have a network of relatives, friends, and community members who are willing to help financially. Make sure that you are honest about your medical condition and financial needs. Include pictures of your recovery and talk about how their donations are helping you ease the financial burden and improve your health. 3. Open A Health Savings Account If you’re enrolled in a high deductible health plan, then you can reduce medical debt by opening a health savings account. This is an account where you contribute money and you can invest those contributions so that your savings can grow. You can only withdraw funds from this account to pay for qualified medical expenses. If you already have a flexible healthcare spending account through your employer, you can roll over those into your HSA without paying taxes on them. 4. Review Your Medical Bill for Accuracy It is also a good idea to review your medical bill to ensure that it’s accurate before you make payments. Watch out for duplicate charges and service dates that are incorrect. If there are any confusing codes that you’re unsure of, contact the billing manager to request information about what they mean. Another thing you can do is check your Explanation of Benefits and your medical records to determine if they match the information in your medical bill. 5. Sell Things You Don’t Need Another idea would be to sell things you don’t need so that you can pay down medical debts. Go through your old items and pick out the ones that are in the best condition then put them in a variety of categories such as housewares, toys, kids’ clothing, books, and electronics. Then label them, put them in boxes, and hold a garage sale in your neighborhood. You might also sell your unwanted items online through sites such as eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace. 6. Ask For A Cash Discount If you have extra emergency funds on hand, contact your hospital’s billing department and ask for a cash discount. If you can pay out the medical bill in full, then you can request a discount off the regular price of the services you used. Some doctors are willing to offer this to you if they see that you’re willing to repay the debt. 7. Get Help From Nonprofit Organizations If there are local chapters of organizations such as The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, and United Way in your area, then contact them to get assistance with overdue medical bills. 8. Withdraw From Your 401K Although it’s not recommended that you do this, there are situations where you are allowed to withdraw from your 401K plan in order to pay your medical debt. You can also take out a loan from your 401K but you’ll repay it through deductions from your check in installments. If you’re over 70 and a half, you can withdraw the entire balance from your 401K. 9. Avoid Non-Life-Threatening Emergency Room Visits If you want to avoid excess medical debt, then you should avoid non-life-threatening visits to the emergency room. This is because emergency room visits are costly. Instead, you can wait until you’re able to see your primary care doctor or head to a local urgent care clinic. 10. Borrow From Family Members If your medical debt isn’t too big and you want to pay it off right away, you can borrow from family members. Tell them about your financial situation and how much you intend to borrow. Give your relatives a set timeframe when you’ll repay the loan and get the agreement in writing. 11. Consolidate Your Medical Debts This is another effective and stress-free way to eliminate medical debt. With debt consolidation, you can combine all of your medical debts into one loan with a potentially lower interest rate. This keeps you from having to juggle different bills that are due on different dates. 12. Work With A Medical Billing Advocate Another option would be to contact a medical billing advocate in your area. He would be able to go through your medical bills to check for errors that you didn’t see when you originally reviewed them. You might also benefit from a billing advocate if your insurance company is refusing coverage, if you don’t have health insurance, or if you’re in charge of handling a loved one’s medical affairs. Here is a directory to assist you in locating the best billing advocate. 13. Don’t Choose Out-of-Network Providers It will cost you more out of pocket if you receive care from providers who are outside of your insurance network. Stick to doctors within your network to avoid massive medical debt. If you’ll need services from a specialist outside of your network, make sure that you have money saved before you receive these services. 14. Educate Yourself About Preventative Care Measures You can avoid lots of medical debt by not needing to visit your doctor as frequently. Educate yourself about ways you can stay healthy on a regular basis. Change your diet so that you’re eating healthier foods and exercise as often as possible. Relieve stress with techniques such as prayer, going for walks, reading good books, and napping. Take vitamins to fight off colds and other minor ailments. 15. Refuse Unnecessary Procedures and Exams Another way to reduce or avoid medical debt is to refuse unnecessary procedures and exams that the doctor recommends. Ask the doctor why he believes that certain procedures are needed in order for your health to improve and ask about alternative methods of treating your illness that are less costly but just as effective. 16. Downsize Your Lifestyle If your medical debt is too overwhelming, then consider downsizing your lifestyle. Sell your home and rent in a more affordable home. Trade in your current car for an inexpensive one. Cut back on unnecessary expenses such as dining out, cable, magazine subscriptions, and pricey outfits. 17. Start A Side Hustle Sometimes the best way to eliminate medical debt is to start a side hustle to earn more income. Use the profits from your side hustles to pay down medical bills. I recently wrote a post on a few creative side hustles, and you can do some of these to get started. 18. Use Bonus Income or Windfalls For Medical Debts If you receive bonuses at work or windfalls such as stimulus payments or child tax credit checks, then use these funds to pay off your medical debt. You might want to use your surplus money to buy new outfits or new furniture, but you should prioritize what really matters for a better financial future. 19. Use Funds From Your Flexible Spending Account If you have healthcare flexible spending account through your employer, you can apply for reimbursement for any medical bills you paid out of pocket. Be sure that the services you’re seeking reimbursement for count as qualified expenses according to the IRS. 20. Use Your Investment Income If you accumulated a substantial amount of dividend income, use some of those funds to pay off medical debt. This keeps you from having to use a credit card to pay it or file for bankruptcy to absolve the excess debt. This should be a last resort after you’ve tried all of the above-mentioned options. These helpful strategies are great in reducing or even eliminate annoying medical debt.

The post 20 Little-Known Ways to Rid Yourself of Medical Debt appeared first on Adventures in Frugal Living.

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