You have health insurance; but it's not adequate cover and now you have $100,000 in medical bills, what should you do?
Millions of Americas with and without health insurance have filed bankruptcy because of medical debt . More than 62 percent of U.S. bankruptcies were caused medical debt.
Here a few tips on how to handle medical debt when it strikes:
- If you are uninsured and are hit with medical debt, one of the first things you should do is inform the medical provider that you are uninsured. Many medical providers offer discounts to uninsured patients because they know that many patients end up filing bankruptcy because they cannot afford the payments. To increase their chances of getting paid they may significantly reduce the medical bill.
- See if you qualify for Medicaid. Many low-income patients qualify for Medicaid which may pay for some or all of your medical expenses.
- Look at your finances. Are you unemployed and have no income? Do you have other debts that you are unable to pay? Will paying your medical debt jeopardize your financial stability? If so, you may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your bankruptcy options. Bankruptcy will not only give you an opportunity to discharge your medical debt, but you may also discharge credit card debt and other unsecured debt during bankruptcy.
One of the best preventive actions you can take when dealing with medical debt is avoiding it in the first place. While sometimes it is difficult to avoid medical debt, having adequate health insurance is the first step in the right direction. Work with your insurance broker to find a health insurance policy that will address your needs and that will provide enough coverage so that you don't end up with massive medical debt when an illness strikes.