- Being badly injured or having to visit the hospital for surgery can often be painful. Add your medical bills on top of that, and you’ll be really hurting.
- You can slowly begin to chip away at your medical bills by following 3 steps: 1) determine what you can pay, 2) discuss options with your provider, and 3) create a payment plan.
- Sit down to determine a reasonable amount that you can pay per month or per year and set goals to make it happen.
- Discuss options with your provider on how you can start paying off your medical bills.
- Set up a payment plan so both you and your provider are satisfied.
If you’ve ever been injured or had to visit the hospital for surgery, you’ve probably felt the weight of the impending medical bills. After several weeks, you’ll either receive a letter, email, or digital statement stating what exactly you’re insurance will cover and what you’re responsible for.
It often comes as a “gut punch” which adds to the stress of your recovery. You’ll ask yourself, How am I going to pay for this? or Is this really how much I owe? Your medical bills can often be just as painful as your procedure, but it doesn’t have to be. Continue reading to discover 3 steps that can help you chip away at your medical bills while minimizing the anxiety.
Step #1: Determine an Affordable Amount
When you receive the first statement that summarizes the expenses involved, it can be very overwhelming. You think, There is no way I am going to be able to pay this off along with my other bills. But with a little bit of goal setting and calculations, you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish.
The first thing you should do is set a realistic goal of how much you can pay by a certain date. For example, if you received your medical bill in June, think of how much you can pay off before the end of the year. Once you reach that goal, set a new one.
It is recommended that you only pay 3% of your gross income per month toward your medical expenses. Keep in mind that medical bills do not accrue interest. It isn’t a loan, but merely a payment for services completed. Understanding this can significantly eliminate any extra stress you may have.
Step #2: Have a Discussion With Your Provider
You will want to have a chat with whoever provided you with their services and give them a clear picture of your financial situation. It’s important to have this conversation immediately in order to maximize their assistance.
Most providers are willing to work with patients in order to help them navigate through the financial trenches of medical bills. Having open and honest conversations with a real person, rather than an automated service, can work to your advantage. This lets the provider know that you are trying your best to make things right rather than avoiding the situation entirely.
Step #3: Establish a Payment Plan
Now that you’ve gotten some things under control, you’ll want to set up a payment plan—automatic if possible—in order to start putting a dent in your medical bills. You’ve calculated how much you can pay per month, you’ve talked to your provider and negotiated a fair compromise, and now you’ll want to set it up.
Most providers have online customer portals that allow you to set up automatic payments. This way, you’ll never miss a bill and still maintain the trust and respect of your provider. If something ever comes up in the future and you need to make an adjustment, you’re in a good position to negotiate with your provider.
It truly is all about tackling your bills head-on without procrastinating or making excuses. Whether you want to or not, your medical bills will need to be paid. Being upfront and taking responsibility is the best way to approach handling your medical obligations. In fact, let’s make “do not procrastinate” Step Zero in this process. It’ll set you up for financial success!