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Steps to avoid medical debt and bankruptcy

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2022 | Bankruptcy & Divorce, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

One of the leading causes of bankruptcy filings in Florida and elsewhere remains medical debt. While individuals and families do not always have full control over this situation, most people should follow several best practices to minimize medical expenses.

Some steps follow common-sense practices while others involve more complex strategies.

Plan ahead

According to a government information sheet, consumers should, if possible, take a series of steps before imminent medical treatment. For those with medical insurance, they should check to make sure the plan covers the treatment or procedure. They should also check to make sure the medical provider falls within network coverage.

Sometimes alternative treatments could cost less. This could reduce out-of-pocket expenses and result in lower overall expenses.

Look over paperwork

After a procedure, individuals should closely examine the billing statement from the provider and the benefits statement from the medical insurance company. Keeping good records helps consumers compare this information and can alert them to mistakes and overcharges. Consumers can dispute a bill as well as question the payment amount from insurance.

Negotiate

When other methods fail, consumers can negotiate with both the medical provider and the insurance company. For example, the offer to pay a bill in one installment could result in a reduced charge. If the medical treatment results in a hefty charge, consumers can also negotiate a payment plan that does not charge interest and does not result in recollection charges.

Medical debt often puts well-meaning families in a difficult situation. As the leading cause of bankruptcy filings, consumers should work to prepare for the best possible outcomes.

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