by Susan Paige
For many Americans, the concept of medical debt can be a major factor in one’s decision to seek treatment for a pressing medical ailment. While the possibility of accruing medical debt can be intimidating, there are ways to prevent debt from occurring. Staying on top of your medical bills and creating a plan to pay them as promptly as possible can put you on the right path to avoiding debt.
Taking steps to prepare for medical bills before it is time to pay them can help to ensure that you can cover the balance needed to avoid collecting debt. If you have health insurance, it is crucial to ensure that your insurance information is up to date and that you are familiar with the type of coverage that your insurance plan provides. Do not assume that a procedure will be covered by insurance; be sure to ask your provider whether or not a particular procedure or treatment will be fully or partially covered as far as possible in advance. If something is not covered, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments that might be. Doing this helps reduce or alleviate your out-of-pocket costs, helping to avoid debt.
Keeping good records of your medical costs that have been funded by you and your insurance can help keep your expenses organized, decreasing the chances of you being unable to cover a bill as you are aware of exactly what you are paying for, and when. Holding onto medical documentation can keep you aware of your medical history and any procedures you may need. Medical scribe companies like Provider’s Choice partner with physicians to keep detailed and up-to-date medical records. These documents, as well as an explanation of benefits from your insurance provider, should help you understand exactly what treatments you need to receive for what, how much of the cost is covered by insurance, and how much you are paying out of pocket.
Once you have received a bill, paying it quickly is important in making sure that you do not accrue debt. If you are unable to pay your entire bill at once, many medical providers allow you to negotiate payment or to pay your bills on a plan over time. Many caregivers also offer financial assistance to ensure that you can receive the treatment and care you need in a manner that you can afford, ensuring that you can pay your bills on time and avoid them being sent to collections.