According to a 2020 survey, close to one-third of American adults carry some level of medical debt. A medical debt is a debt formed from an unpaid medical bill and while not all medical visits and procedures are expensive, some can soar to unimaginable heights. For example, a Wisconsin resident diagnosed with cancer may incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs over the course of their treatment.
Medical debt is a serious problem and it is often compounded by the equally challenging financial problem of being unable to work. When a person is sick or injured, they may not be able to work and earn money to pay off their bills. As their medical costs mount, their savings and income may plummet due to their medical limitations.
However, despite the challenges that medical debt may throw at individuals, they may have options for managing and controlling their burdensome medical bills. The suggestions provided in this article are informational only, and readers are cautioned that they should not use this information as specific legal advice or guidance.
One way that a person may be able to manage their medical debt is through the careful review of their medical bills. In some cases, individuals may find that they were overcharged or erroneously charged for procedures, or that their providers failed to bill their insurance before sending them their statements. An attorney can help a person sort out problems that may exist in their billing.
Another way that a person may cope with medical debt is by being proactive. Though not guaranteed, a medical provider may allow a party to negotiate down their payments or reduce the amount of their bill in order to make it manageable to cover. Seeking a modification to one’s outstanding bill may require communication with one’s medical provider and may be handled by a debt relief attorney.
Medical bills that cannot be revised or negotiated down may burden individuals and end up going to collections. When this happens, a debtor may see their wages garnished, their property subject to liens, or their financial resources tapped. When medical debt becomes unmanageable and threatens the livelihood of an individual, other financial tools like bankruptcy may be available to eliminate the financial weights that hold them down.
Debt negotiation, bankruptcy, and managing modified payments are all possible ways that individuals may control the medical bills that burden their lives. Other options exist, however, and individuals stuck under heavy medical burdens should not lose hope. Help is available through consultations with knowledgeable debt relief and bankruptcy attorneys to help individuals with their specific debt struggles.