4 Little-Known Steps to Take When You Get a Big Medical Bill
Hospitals are money pits.
A trip to the emergency room or any surgical procedure can leave you facing huge medical bills. Enormous, gigantic, massive medical bills.
When you get a bill for thousands and thousands of dollars, it’s practically enough to give you a coronary and land you back in the hospital.
Little-Known Strategies to Pay off Medical Debt
Millions of Americans have medical debt. We’ve got some advice you might not hear anywhere else.
Here are three little-known steps you should take to pay down those bills.
1. Let This Company Help You Pay off the Debt
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
2. Protect Your Credit From Bill Collectors
Are unpaid medical bills hurting your credit score? Your credit report will tell you.
Get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how you might address it.
And don’t worry: If you can’t pay off your medical bill immediately, you’re not alone.
More than 43 million Americans have medical debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Not only that, but one in five Americans who have medical insurance have unpaid, past-due medical bills, according to a FINRA Investor Education Foundation study.
If you’re one of them, Credit Sesame can help you keep an eye on your credit. More than half of all collections that are listed on credit reports are associated with medical bills.
3. Negotiate Your Medical Bills
If you’re facing a staggering, scary number, you probably don’t have to pay as much as they’re asking. You can negotiate the price of treatment with your both your provider and your insurance company, and you can approach the negotiation from a number of angles.
If you simply state the total is too high for you to afford, you might be able to score a discount if you can pay a large chunk of the bill up front or in cash.
Even if your provider says no, your lowball starting move primes the negotiation for a lower endpoint. And with the ridiculous premiums charged, 10% to 20% off the bill isn’t much to the provider, even if it’s a sizeable chunk of your lifetime savings.
If you don’t have a lump of cash to hand over in exchange for a deduction, you can probably get on a payment plan with the hospital. Although doing so may not lower your total significantly (or at all), you’ll avoid a negative factor on your credit report and have a concrete, manageable plan for getting rid of your debt.
4. Get Rid of Your Debt
If you’re drowning in credit card debt, you know how hopeless your options can feel. You make your payments every month, but you never seem to make any progress.
Here’s why: Your lenders are ripping you off with insane interest rates. What if you could just… get rid of some of your debt?
A company called Freedom Debt Relief can help you do just that. They’ll talk to your lenders directly to convince them to reduce a big chunk of your debt — and you may avoid bankruptcy or taking out a loan.
It’s free to talk with their experts to see what the best strategy is for you. You’ll need to show why you’re struggling to make your payments and tell them a little about your finances.
Then, they’ll get to work to see just how much of your debt they can get rid of — they’ve already served over 800,000 people and negotiated more than $15 billion in debts.
They’ll negotiate a settlement with your creditor and if you approve the offer they come back with, you’ll start paying it off. But you don’t owe anything unless they negotiate a settlement and you make your first payment toward that settlement.
It’s free to see just how much of your debt you can get rid of.
Contact Freedom Debt Relief to see if you are eligible for their program
Mike Brassfield is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.