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Are those exorbitant medical charges set in stone?

It's hard enough dealing with the complex variations and fine-line print that mark most health insurance policies as it is, so it's understandable that many people ultimately just circle the annual care option that comes with the lowest monthly premium.

That makes sense, doesn't it?

Well, maybe … but maybe not.

Because, you see, there's one word that can feature most prominently in an insurance policy and lead to heavy implications when it comes to a claimant needing to invoke policy protections.

That word is "deductible," and it needs to be seriously considered by anyone comparing policy choices.

To wit: A monthly premium might be attractively low, but a high deductible -- the amount a policyholder must kick in before an insurer begins to perform -- can be onerously high (often many thousands of dollars) and wipe out the perceived benefits of a policy in an instant.

How can a cash-strapped individual deal with a high deductible after a policy has been inked and pricey medical care becomes necessary?

As noted in a recent article on the high price of medical care, persons with sizable deductibles might want to take a deep breath and then march into their provider's billing office to negotiate a bit of wiggle room.

When it comes to debt relief, this is a viable move that can sometimes pay off in most literal fashion.

"There's no harm in asking -- just be polite," says one patients' advocate.

Of course, knocking material amounts off an already staggeringly high medical bill is not something routinely and easily accomplished, as evidenced by myriad stories noting that medical debt is a frequent catalyst leading to bankruptcy filings.

In some instances, a bankruptcy declaration can be a potent -- and logical -- weapon to employ against insuperably high health-related exactions. Under federal and state bankruptcy laws, medical bills stand as unsecured debt that can be negotiated and sometimes discharged entirely through bankruptcy.

A proven debt-relief attorney can answer questions regarding medical debt and other encumbrances that threaten an individual's or family's financial freedom and outline options that can help secure a fresh start.

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