Many Jackson residents and people throughout Mississippi face medical bills that they simply cannot afford. Even with insurance, medical procedures and ER visits can lead to major debt. Fortunately there are creative options available to help pay down expensive healthcare bills.
Check for billing errors
Overcharging is a common issue in the healthcare industry. Whether it is purposeful or not, most hospitals get away with it. According to an article by U.S. News & World Report, anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of medical bills contain clerical errors. The more services included on the bill, the more likely that it contains errors.
Always ask your medical provider for an itemized bill so you can see the individual costs of items. Try to pinpoint unnecessary charges such as:
- Cancelled tests
- Duplicate charges
- Incorrect insurance information
One wrong number in the insurance information can cause patients to be billed at full cost. Do not hesitate to call the medical provider to discuss items on your bill. Everyone has the right to get an explanation of charges.
Negotiate with the hospital
Some people are comfortable haggling for a damaged sweater at a local clothing store, but rarely does anyone negotiate hospital bills. In fact, many are surprised to find out that medical bills are negotiable in the first place. It is intimidating to get started, but the results can be worth an uncomfortable conversation.
First, research online the average cost of your procedure in Mississippi. If you were billed for more than the average cost of the procedure then you may have leverage to negotiate price with the hospital. Next, contact the hospital and speak with the billing manager. You do not need to give up at first resistance. You can pursue a bill discount through calls, emails and letters.
Seek outside help
Crowdfunding is becoming a popular method to pay down unmanageable medical bills. Websites such as GoFundMe provide an avenue for friends and family to help pay for a cause. Post your cause on various social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This allows friends and family to chip in small amounts of money, which can help immensely when added together. Financial assistance programs may also be available if you are encountering financial crisis. If you are unable to pay for food or rent then you can contact The Metro Jackson Salvation Army for assistance.
Consider filing for bankruptcy
Bankruptcy can be an excellent option when other methods of paying down debt are unsuccessful. Medical debt can be completely discharged or restructured through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can help defend property and income from hospital collection lawsuits. Unfortunately, bankruptcy is a complicated process. It should be completed with the help of an attorney.