6 Tips for Paying Off Medical Bills

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Personal Finance / October 4, 2013


Being a recent college graduate, or young person in the business world often means being buried in debt. Student loans, credit card bills, and medical bills can really add up. Unfortunately you can’t wave a magic wand and make all of your bills disappear, but by following these few simple steps, you can at least get your medical bills under control.

Negotiate Everything

Your first step to paying off medical bills is to remember that everything is negotiable. If you have a big bill on your hands, it’s often possible to get a part of the bill reduced. When it comes to hospital bills, you’ll see items for X-rays, surgery, medications, anesthesiology, and many other expenses. It’s worth it to talk to the providers of the different services to see if they’ll cut the fees. Everyone was young and broke once too, so just be polite, explain your circumstances, and they might take some pity on you.

Hospital Payment Plans

It’s also a good strategy to investigate your hospital’s payment plans. In most cases, hospitals are more forgiving than your credit card company. And that’s good news for your bills. That’s especially true if you’re already considered a low-income patient, which as a student, or someone who has recently graduated, you probably are. Again, explain your situation to the people in charge, and ask them to help you set up a payment plan so you can avoid becoming buried in debt.

Picking the Right Place

Going to the proper facility in the first place will save you a lot up front. Where you go to get your care makes a big difference when you compare emergency rooms, urgent care centers, doctor’s offices, and convenience-care clinics, with emergency rooms costing you the most. If your situation is not an immediate emergency, call your insurer’s hotline to get advice on where you should go. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the doctors and facilities in your network when you join a new health insurance plan. You can find a list online, or call the number on the back of your insurance card. If you’re prepared ahead of time with names and locations, you can save a lot of money if an accident occurs.

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Checking Your Bills

It also pays to make sure your billing is correct. When it comes to hospital bills, they’ll arrive weeks after your visit in many cases. Review the bill and don’t save it for later. This way, you’ll make sure all charges are right, and if they’re not, resolve any billing disputes before you put the cost on your credit card or a loan installment. And remember that any HIPAA covered entity must adhere to the rules. Make a list of all of the due dates for your student loans, medical bills and credit card bills. Mark them on the calendar so you know exactly when everything is due.

Small Payments Help

The faster you pay your bills, the better off you are. Paying $1 every month means that the hospital can’t send you to a collection agency as you’re demonstrating that you’re paying something. However, you’re just keeping yourself out of serious trouble — you’ll never pay off debts like this.

If your account goes to collections, tell them you cannot pay and they might settle for a specific amount. No matter how you approach your situation, make sure you’re making small payments of some kind to keep yourself afloat while figuring out a solution.

Saving on Prescriptions

When prescription costs are bringing you down, consider a switch to generic drugs. This will save you big money — generics often cost 30 to 60% less than their brand-name drugs. Many insurers now offer tools online that show the cost of all drugs that bring similar results. This includes the total price along with the amount you’ll end up paying under your plan.

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Using all the resources out there to keep costs down and pay off any bills you do have will make sure you don’t get stuck with tons of medical bill debt.

Abigail Clark is an upcoming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. If you would like her to do a review for you look her up on twitter @downtownabby17.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.