Many people ruin their lives by gambling or by taking on too much personal, credit card, or bank debt.
But one of the most unmanageable types of debt you may encounter in life is medical debt.
It doesn’t matter if you are young or elderly, all types of Americans are struggling with medical debt.
Collectively, Americans owe over $195 billion in medical debt. Over 41% of Americans, about 100 million people, are drowning in it. The average American owes anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 in medical debts.
And that is a conservative estimate. Many Americans owe tens of thousands in medical debt.
Take care of your health, or risk a medical emergency that could devastate your finances. Here are several ways to reduce your medical debt.
Consult the healthcare Bluebook
The Healthcare Bluebook is a directory that lists the average price of medical procedures performed in hospitals.
You should understand the price of your medical procedure and itemize every additional fee that was added to your medical bill.
You can’t expect to lower or renegotiate your medical debt if you don’t have a basic understanding of how much procedures cost. Understanding these facts can also help you discover any discrepancies as well.
Get a medical advocate
You can get a medical advocate to negotiate your medical debt and bills on your behalf.
A medical advocate is a former medical worker, counselor, lawyer, or medical industry worker who understands every facet of the medical care business. A medical advocate understands how to help you in ways you would never know.
These websites offer access to medical advocates who offer free consultations or a basic fee for successful bill reductions:
Try to negotiate with the billing department
The medical industry knows that a third of Americans are struggling with medical debt. The billing department of your local hospital or medical clinic often is willing to negotiate.
Be polite and diplomatically explain to the billing department that you are unable to pay the bill in full. Ask if the final bill amount can be reduced.
Depending on your bills, employment status, and procedure, you could qualify for a single or double-digit discount. But be humble; at the very best, you could get a few hundred or a few thousand deducted from your bill.
Also, ask for a no-interest payment plan if possible.