If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with unbearably high or unfair medical bills, you are not alone.
Medical bills can often contain mistakes or overcharges, and correcting an error or reducing an exorbitant bill can be a long and confusing process. This does not mean, however, that you should resign yourself to paying an unfair bill.
Here are some tips on how to fend for yourself when dealing with an unfair medical bill.
Understand Your Bill
First, make sure that you fully understand your bill. Check each item on the bill against your own records.
Much of the language on your bill may be medical terminology that is difficult for someone without a background in health care to understand, so call the medical billing office and ask for an explanation of any items that are unclear to you.
Confirm Services Received
Once you fully understand all of the items on the bill, make sure that they are reflective of services you received. If there are any discrepancies on your bill, contact the billing office.
If your bill is unreasonably high, check to see if it exceeds your state’s medical billing limits. Many states have set caps on the amount that can be charged for services. If your bill falls within the amount allowed by law, seek out alternative methods of payment.
Discuss With Your Doctor
You may want to discuss with your doctor whether there is any way for them to charge you at a lower rate.
Be honest about your financial situation, and see if they can work with you to find an amount that is reasonable for both of you. A delinquent bill is neither good for the doctor nor the patient, so many offices would rather give you a lower rate than risk receiving no payment at all.
Look To Pay In Installments
You may also be able to pay your bill in installments. Many hospitals and doctors offices may be willing to set up a payment plan for you.
Even if the doctor’s office is unwilling to break up your bill, there are many third party agencies who will lend you the money to pay off your costs, and allow you to pay them back at a low interest rate.
Register For Medicaid
If you fall into a lower income bracket, register for Medicaid.
This is only helpful prior to receiving treatment, but will help cover some of the costs that you incur at the doctor’s office or hospital.
Depending on your condition, you may also be eligible for grants or other charity programs to help defray your expenses. Research any non-profit groups that may work to help people with your disorder, disease, or condition.
File A Grievance
If you believe that there has been a mistake made on your bill, or that services were not paid for as they should have been, file a grievance with your insurance company. You will be able to find information on who to contact at your insurance agency in any documentation you have about your policy.
There are also many programs that can give you the assistance of a volunteer to help you with any legal action you may need to take in order to correct your bill. The process may be time consuming, but you can and should have your bills adjusted to the fair price you deserve.