Medical care is one of those things that we all need, but many cannot afford. Even with insurance and government assistance, the outrageous cost of medical care can put low and middle class families in compromising financial situations. If you find yourself burdened with medical bills and related expenses, make sure you evaluate your options.
Five Things You Can Do
Depending on the medical bills you have, what type of care you received, and the circumstances surrounding your health issues, you may have a few different options.
Here are some things to consider:
- Review Bills for Accuracy
The very first thing you need to do is review your bills for accuracy. Medical providers make mistakes, just like anyone else, and it’s not uncommon to see errors, double billing, or even charges for care you didn’t receive. While you’ll obviously owe something for your care, you can save a lot of money by verifying the charges are accurate.
- Negotiate Costs With Provider
Most people don’t realize that you can actually negotiate with your medical provider. Often, providers have tons of outstanding invoices, and would rather collect some of your bill than wait months or years, and go through the trouble of a legal battle. While they probably won’t lower your charge on your first call or meeting, regular calls and requests will help you make some headway. Remember to always be polite and honest.
- Use Plaintiff Lawsuit Funding (in Legal Situations)
If you received medical care as a result of an injury that’s currently being litigated, and you’re awaiting a verdict or settlement in the court of law – due to an injury such as a car accident or work-related injury – there may be options available. Even though your award may be months away, your bills, ongoing care, and other expenses can be paid for with a lawsuit funding advance.
Plaintiff funding, also known as pre-settlement funding, is essentially an advance based on the expected award from a settlement or judgment. In other words, a legal finance company can advance you funds, generally in the amount of up to 10% of the estimated value of your lawsuit. Once your case pays out, your advance plus the funding company’s fees will be subtracted from your portion. Because lawsuit advances are non-recourse transactions, you owe nothing if you lose your case.
- Try Crowdfunding
Have you considered crowdfunding? Many people turn to popular crowdfunding sites to raise money for their bills and ongoing healthcare expenses. Simply create a campaign – or ask a friend to do it for you – and then try to get the word out. A few dollars here and there can add up quickly when thousands of people give.
- Look for Assistance Programs
Finally, you may be eligible for assistance programs if you meet certain requirements, such as low-income. A lot of hospitals and medical centers actually offer in-house assistance, but there are also community programs and charities in many cities around the U.S. You’ll have to submit a lot of paperwork and proof, but these programs can help out tremendously if you’re in serious need.
Don’t Sit on the Sidelines
The absolute worst thing you can do is sit back and watch your medical bills pile up. Even if you can’t muster up the money to make any payments, you need to be willing to identify solutions and seek resolutions.
This article features a few of your options, but there are plenty of others out there. Do your research and don’t be too proud to ask for help. Thousands of Americans deal with medical bills each month and want to find a safe way out.