Medical bills are a necessary nuisance. You need the medical care, but you may not always be able to afford the hefty bills that come along with the service. Sometimes medical bills get sent to collections while you wait for the insurance company to decide how much of the bill they will pay for you.
No matter the reason, there are ways that you can keep medical collections off your credit report. Keep reading to learn the simple ways to make this happen for you.
Stay in Contact With the Medical Provider
The worst thing you can do is to ignore the debt. If you know that you have a bill out there and you are waiting to see what your insurance company will pay, contact your medical provider. If you let them know that you are not avoiding the bill, but are waiting to hear from your insurance company, they may delay sending your account to the collection agency.
Stay in Contact With the Insurance Company
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the insurance company received your claim and is still processing your bill. Call them frequently to confirm receipt of the bill and processing of it. If you haven’t heard anything in a few weeks, follow up with the insurance company again. Human error happens and things get lost. If you stay in contact with the insurance company, you can catch these issues right away and prevent your account from getting sent to collections.
Get a Settlement
If you don’t have insurance or even if you do, but you have a large deductible, you may end up with a large bill that you can’t afford. Some medical providers are willing to take a settlement. They know that if they send your bill to the collection agency that they will only get a small portion of what you owe. If you agree to a settlement, the medical provider has a better chance of securing more funds from you. Of course, you should only do this if you have the lump sum available to pay towards the bill right away.
Ask for a Payment Arrangement
If you don’t have the lump sum available, you may ask for a payment arrangement. Before you do, figure out how much you can afford to pay each month. Obviously, the more you can pay the faster you’ll pay the bill off and the more willing the medical provider will be to accept the arrangement. Again, because they know they will only get a small fraction of the bill from a collection agency, they may be willing to accept any payments you can make each month.
Don’t Ignore the Bill
The worst thing you could do with a medical bill is ignore it. Even if you know you can’t pay it right now, talk to the medical provider. Ignoring the bill only makes them send it to the collection agency. If you can’t make any payments right now, be honest with the medical provider. They will likely work with you if you tell them what is going on – ignoring it doesn’t let them know that you can’t afford it at the moment. If you ignore it, they cannot give you options.
Medical bills are a necessary evil. You need the care, but you may not be able to afford the hefty bills. Rather than getting in over your head, work out a deal with your medical provider. The more honest you are with them and the faster you act, the less likely it is that your bill will end up on your credit report as a collection.