We’ve all been there before when your child had to spend hours or days in the hospital. Or receiving an unexpected bill from a provider that was out-of-network. I used to cringe every time I got a bill from a medical facility because I had no idea how I would pay it down quickly. Back then, I would just pay the hospital bills with a credit card not realizing that I ended up paying more due to added interest. I have since changed my ways. If you’re on a debt-free journey, look into these options instead.

If you receive a tax refund, set some money aside for medical expenses that year and/or pay off your old medical bills

In the past, when I received a return on my taxes, I first looked into what I owe instead of what I want. I made sure medicals bills were paid first before I looked into paying off a debt. If you are setting money aside, make sure you factor in the cost of co-pays, co-insurance, and yearly deductibles. If your tax returns are not adequate, consider adding a set amount to your budget for medical bills.

Negotiate with the provider to lower the bill or submit monthly payments

If you are able to negotiate a reduction on your bill, have the provider put it in writing. If negotiations are off the table, hospitals, labs, and clinics will work with you when it comes to paying the bill. They would rather get paid something than nothing at all. Best of all, most don’t add interest when they put you on a monthly plan. Don’t let them tell you how much you have to pay them monthly if you choose to go that route. Pay the minimum that you’re comfortable with, then increase the amount as you see fit. 

Submit an appeal to your insurance provider

If you have a medical bill that your insurance provider did not cover, call and ask for an explanation. You may have to call the doctor or hospital as well to explain why the medical visit was not covered. If the issue is not resolved, appeal the bill with your insurance provider. It may be worth it. 

Apply for Assistance

Now I’m talking to those who absolutely cannot pay their bills due to hard times. Many hospitals have grants and scholarships that help pay all or most of your medical bills in the midst of hardship. There will be a lot of paperwork to fill out, but all in all, it will take that load off of you and your family.

What are your plans for paying off medical bills?