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Families can fight against medical debt

Medical bills account for a huge percentage of debt for many Ohio families, and in some cases these overwhelming bills can pile up and lead to potential bankruptcy filings. This does not have to be the case, however. Most doctors and hospitals have instituted protocol that allows them to work with debtors to pay off medical debt more quickly and easily.

The first step in battling medical debt is to go over bills very carefully. They should be checked for accuracy in dates, treatments, and charges, and any overcharges or errors on the bills should be reported to the hospital billing staff as quickly as possible. A growing number of doctors and hospitals will work with patients on charges, and many will even accept a settlement in lieu of a full payment. Some will even work with patients on payment plans for large bills in order to receive payments.

Other complications can arise for anyone who does not have medical insurance. Again, a number of facilities will "make deals" with clients in order to receive payment. A patient should check with the billing staff to see if it is possible to get a discount for cash payments or payments in full. Sometimes the billing staff will even work with individuals to help them get enrolled in a state or federal healthcare program such as Medicaid in order to offset charges for necessary visits and procedures.

The key to surviving medical debt is to keep on top of the bills received and come up with a plan to pay them as quickly and as fully as possible. Unfortunately, not all families have a financial status that allows them to pay large hospital bills, and some hospitals may not be willing to work with patients on charges. If medical bills have become overwhelming, it may be time to speak with an attorney regarding the different financial options that may be available.

Source: Debt.org, "Medical Debt and Collections", Bill Fay, October 06, 2014

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