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Are Your Medical Debts Piling Up?

According to one national study, medical bills are responsible for almost two-thirds of bankruptcy filings. With the costs of health care rising in the United States, it's not surprising that so many people go into debt to pay for medical emergencies, life-saving procedures, and even prescriptions. If your medical debts are piling up, you may have several options available to you instead of resorting to declaring bankruptcy.

Medical Bill Payment Plan

Some hospitals and medical facilities offer payment plans to help patients avoid debts going to collections. Ask your health care provider about arranging a schedule where you'll make minimum monthly payments until the bill is paid. The medical facility will probably lose money if your bill goes to collections, so you may even be able to negotiate a lower payment by agreeing to pay off the debt in predictable increments. It's very likely that your provider won't charge interest on a payment plan, making this a better option than putting your bills on a credit card with higher interest rates.

Debt Consolidation

A chronic illness or serious condition could lead your medical bills to pile up very quickly. You might owe debts to many medical facilities or physicians, leading you to struggle to know which debt to pay off first. With debt consolidation, a professional will help you assess your options for taking out a loan to cover all your medical bills. Then, you'll have just one monthly payment to worry about as you repay the loan. Bills for complex surgeries and ongoing treatments can be significant, so you'll want to consult a debt consolidation professional about whether you can afford the interest rate for such a loan or whether another option would make more sense for your situation.

Financial Assistance

Depending on your income, you might qualify for assistance paying off your medical debts. Check out this list of 35 organizations for help paying your medical bills. Many of these programs are tailored to specific needs, such as women who need help to pay for prenatal care or children in low-income families who need basic care, like eyeglasses, covered. Even if your bills aren't 100% covered by these programs, getting assistance with your medical debts could make a significant difference and allow you to pay off the rest of your debts more quickly.

Even with health insurance, an unexpected medical bill could cause you to lose your financial footing. These strategies for paying off medical debt may help you avoid filing for bankruptcy. For more information, contact a debt consolidation service.