4 Strategies for Tackling Medical Debt
Medical debt is a huge financial burden, even for people with health insurance. A single visit to the doctor’s office can leave you with bills that it takes years to pay off. The No Surprises Act has reduced the cost of emergency healthcare, but there are plenty of loopholes about which services qualify as emergency services, and before 2022, the cost of an ER visit was so high that most people who went to the emergency room in 2021 are still paying off the bills for the visit in 2023. In fact, medical debt is one of the most common reasons that people contact a Jupiter debt lawyer, but the best way to deal with an unpayable medical bill varies according to the amount you owe and the circumstances under which you incurred the debt.
Apply for Medical Bill-Related Financial Aid
Near the “amount due” line on most medical bills is a phone number to call to inquire about financial aid. Many hospitals and doctors’ offices are willing to accept less than the sticker price for your visit if you don’t have insurance or if you still owe hundreds or thousands of dollars after the insurance company has paid its portion. An extraordinary amount of negotiation goes into medical billing, so you have nothing to lose to ask about financial aid.
Get Someone Else’s Insurance to Pay
In some cases, someone else’s insurance company should be responsible for your medical bill. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, the at fault driver’s insurance should pay for your accident-related medical expenses. Insurance companies are not known for their generosity, so you may need to have a personal injury lawyer negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Likewise, if your medical bills are related to a work-related accidental injury or occupational disease, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should pay. It is against the law for employers to retaliate against employees for filing workers’ compensation claims.
Become Eligible to Enroll in Medicaid
Florida has not expanded Medicaid eligibility pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, which means that it is harder to qualify for Medicaid in Florida than in most other states. Medicaid pays for nursing home care for residents who cannot otherwise afford it. It is possible to spend down your assets so that you qualify, but you must do it strategically, or else Medicaid will not accept your application.
Discharge Your Medical Debts in Bankruptcy
If most of your unpayable debts are medical bills, this makes you an excellent candidate for a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Medical debts are eligible for discharge in bankruptcy. Most people who file for chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge their medical debts without forfeiting any of their assets.
Work With a Debt Lawyer About Medical Debt
Bankruptcy is only one of several options for debt relief. A South Florida debt lawyer can help you if you are considering filing for bankruptcy because of your medical debts. Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Jupiter, Florida to discuss your case.