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Communication key to resolving medical debt

Medical debt remains among the most common types of debt plaguing citizens of Summit and throughout the rest of the country. The American healthcare system stands above all others in the world in terms of positive patient outcomes and advances in treatment methods. Yet such exceptional care doesn’t come cheap, and even those who have health insurance often find themselves unable to cover the entire costs of their services. Left alone, patients can quickly see their bills overwhelm them and drive them into financial ruin.

One of the keys to managing medical debt is to have an open line of communication with one’s healthcare provider. This is true even before services are rendered. Doctor’s are well-aware that most of their patients have concerns about being able to pay for their care, even in those scenarios where that care is needed to preserve their lives. Thus, one shouldn’t be timid about asking his or her doctor up-front how much procedures will cost. Being open about one’s financial situation may just help him or her qualify for assistance of some kind.

Once the bills have arrived, the need for effective communication between patients and providers increases even more. Many cases will often result in medical expenses that one can’t reasonably be expected to meet with one lump sum payment. He or she needs to talk to providers or their administrative staff about other payment options. Failure to share any of one’s concerns about his or her ability to pay can often result in bills being sent to collections, and perhaps even being reported to credit monitoring agencies.

If and when this happens, one may be left with little choice but to seek bankruptcy protection. Those already in this situation may wish to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer right away.

Source: Kaiser Health News “What To Do About Medical Debt” Lexie Verdon, Apr. 25, 2014

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