Research shows that about 137.1 million Americans are facing financial hardship this year because of medical costs. In fact, medical debt is the number one reason that people, regardless of age, would consider taking money out of their retirement accounts and 66.5% of all personal bankruptcies are tied to medical issues. Many people spend their retirement savings to pay their medical debts which then leads to a distraught in life. But numerous proactive steps can be taken to negotiate those balances down, that is: 

  • Representing patients pro bono in court when hospitals sue them over unpaid bills.
  • Hospitals charge a different amount for the same treatment which does not come with a difference in quality. So it is important to compare prices on websites like  MDsave.com and Sesame.com where consumers can compare the prices of the health services and take their decision accordingly. 
  • Many medical providers have you sign both health-care and financial consent forms. However, you don’t necessarily have to agree to both. If you don’t feel comfortable signing the form, you can choose to write, “I don’t feel comfortable signing my life away financially” or “Did not read” on the signature line.
  • Bargaining is the first step that Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, founder, and director of financial planning at advisory firm Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, tells people to pursue. Most bills are negotiable before, during and aftercare.
  • It is very essential to make sure that everything on the bill is correct and the providers are actually giving all the services they are billing for.
  • If you can’t afford to pay, check to see if the hospital or medical organization provides charity services. Some hospitals will be okay with low payments, as long as you’re making progress toward the debt.

Many individuals face financial ruin after paying their medical bills, some of them lose their jobs and property because of this. And for many of them, it becomes hard to take up medical help during an emergency due to high payments and bills. So, it is important for one to correctly handle medical debts with proper information and opting for health insurance with comprehensive benefits, depending on a health provider that cater low-cost health services.