Medical bills can quickly grow if you have chronic health issues or have a medical emergency. Even with a good health insurance policy, the bills can become beyond your ability to pay them. Some medical treatments can be very expensive. If you have large medical bills that seem to be way beyond what you believe you could ever pay, there are several ways to get financial help for medical bills.
Seek to Negotiate
If you neglect a medical bill, the hospital will turn your bill over to a collection agency. This method usually works well for them, but it may mean your opportunity to negotiate for a smaller bill may be gone if you wait until then.
Hospitals will often rather negotiate a reduced bill with you than turn it over to a collection agency. Talking to them about a reduced bill lets them know that you intend to pay what you can. They will be glad you communicated with them about the bill rather than ignoring it. If you are going to negotiate with them, however, you need to do it before it goes to a collection agency.
This approach may have a better chance of success if you make a large payment toward it when discussing a reduced bill. The more you can pay, the better your chances will be.
Try to Get a Payment Plan
Another way to get help with your medical bills and reduce the pressure on you is to try to arrange a monthly payment plan. You may be able to get this plan with low payments. Some companies or hospitals will charge interest but some will not.
You should avoid putting medical bills on a credit card. Because of the high-interest rate, this can increase your debt and help to keep you in debt for a long time. Try other options before going this route.
Apply for Medical Grants
You do not need to repay a grant given to help you meet your medical costs. There are many institutions and government grants that can help you with your medical bills. Billions of dollars are set aside each year for this purpose. This type of grant is also tax-free. Grants can come from pharmaceutical companies, hospital chains, non-profits, and more, and you can apply for more than one. Finding these grants does require that you be specific in your search because many companies only help with certain types of needs.
Apply for Medicaid
If you have a low income, you may be able to qualify for Medicaid. You can often pay a child’s medical bills through a program called Children’s Health Insurance Programs – or CHIP. The help offered is based on a family’s income.
Medical Help for Veterans
The Veterans Administration has hospitals and clinics for veterans in many cities across the U.S. Many of the treatments and care are free, depending on income. Although some distance may be involved in traveling to one of the hospitals, they provide nearly every kind of care needed.
If you know you need certain types of medications, you may be able to get some services at a greatly reduced price. Generic drugs, for instance, cost much less than brand name drugs – often as low as $4 for a month’s supply.
Get a Loan
Getting a loan to pay off a medical bill should be considered a last resort option. You should try the other options for financial help for medical bills first. A loan will also come with interest, although it will likely be lower than that of a credit card.