How to Get Medical Bill Debt Forgiveness?
A health crisis changes the way you live. With new technology and modern treatments, medical bills increase every other year.
In many cases, medical bill debt forgiveness programs can discharge or forgive part of the medical bill.
What is Medical Bill Debt Forgiveness?
Medical Bill Debt Forgiveness reduces medical bill debt by requesting the concerned authority or seeking help from third-party organizations.
If you struggle to pay high medical bills, you can seek help from third parties to pay them.
According to a recent study, over 137 million American adults had experienced shortages of funds to pay their medical bills. You need to discover different strategies to reduce your medical bill debt.
Fortunately, we have managed to list out several ways that can help you reduce your medical debt.
You can request a flat discount from the hospital’s authority or go for the repayment plan. Let’s check out the different methods of reducing medical bill debt.
Best Ways to Ask for a Medical Bill Forgiveness
We all know the negative impact of high medical bills on our routine lives. If you receive a high medical bill from the hospital after a specific treatment or surgery, you are not the only one in the space.
According to a recent study, over 26% of Americans struggle to pay their high medical bills and look for medical bill forgiveness.
Hospitals are bound to collect medical bills to function their business properly. Therefore, they provide different options to those who can’t afford to pay their medical bills directly.
In general, there are 7 different ways a hospital can suggest to ways against high medical bills to patients.
1. Check the bill for errors
2. Direct discounts on the generated medical bills
3. Financial assistance to unsecured person
4. Payment plans with low or no interest
5. Seek help from NGOs
6. Filing for bankruptcy
Check out these 6 ways to get medical bill forgiveness.
1. Check the bill for errors
Medical bills can also have errors. Hence, you should carefully check the bill before appealing for a reduction. After your treatment, the hospital will send a bill and an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) from your insurance provider.
The EOB is not a bill. It is a statement from the insurance provider that details itemized medical service costs, insurance coverage, discounts received, etc. And the total you may owe to the insurance provider.
To check for errors in medical bills, you can request the hospital’s billing department to send an itemized bill.
This should list the cost of individual procedures and the coverage provided by your insurance carrier. Check this against the original bill from the hospital and the insurance plan.
You can also request your insurance carrier to send an SBC (Summary of Benefits and Coverage) and a copy of the glossary of health care terms. Insurance companies are required to provide customers with these copies when requested.
The hospital may have made a billing error if you:
- Were charged for preventive care
- Were denied a claim that insurance must pay
- Were billed twice by mistake
- See any coding errors in the bill
- See if your personal or insurance information was entered incorrectly
If you find any of the above-given scenarios, you should contact your insurance provider immediately. You should also submit an appeal as soon as possible if you wish to dispute the medical bill in question.
Important! Disputing a medical bill is never the same as asking for bill forgiveness; therefore, we have published a separate article on How to Dispute Medical Bills.
To find out how to file a dispute complaint, you can visit the link to your state’s insurance commissioner at https://content.naic.org/.
2. Ask for a Financial Assistance Policy from the Hospital
The first and easiest way to get a reduced medical bill is to ask the hospital if the patient qualifies for the financial assistance policy.
Financial Assistance Policy, also known as Charity Care, is preserved for financially weak patients.
The authority may ask you to show proof of income and other required documents to check if you come under the charity care program.
Depending on your proof of income, the hospital may cut the medical bills to half or even forgive the entire medical bill.
Federal law mandates nonprofit hospitals to offer financial assistance initiatives. They are also required to educate patients with details of the financial aid programs.
The eligibility criteria for seeking financial aid differ between different hospitals.
Around half of the states in the country have clearly defined financial assistance programs, eligibility criteria and application processes.
The laws for financial assistance for medical bills also vary from state to state. However, hospitals must provide free or reduced-cost care and interest-free repayment plans to patients below the FPL (Federal Poverty Level).
3. Ask for Discounts
The second way to reduce or forgive your medical bill debt from the hospital is to ask for a discount. You can ask for a flat discount on the medicines you buy from the hospital’s pharmacy.
If you have a known person in the hospital, you can refer to his name to reduce the final amount on the medical bill.
4. Seek Help from NGOs
Many active NGOs provide financial help to qualified applicants for the forgiveness of their medical bill debt. These NGOs have partnerships with hospitals to settle the medical bills on behalf of the patients.
NGOs pay the pending bill amount through the hospital’s Charity Care Program. Low-income families can seek help from NGOs that have good contact with hospitals.
They can provide direct financial assistance to such families to clear their debt or medical bills.
You can get references from the hospital’s finance department to learn more about the available charity programs and NGOs that can help pay medical bills financially.
5. Negotiate a settlement
If you do not qualify for financial aid from the hospital, you can consider negotiating the reduction of the medical bill. According to a Consumer Reports survey, over 57% of consumers successfully negotiated their medical bills.
Here are some tried and tested tactics to use when negotiating the reduction or forgiveness of medical bills with the hospital’s billing department:
Discounted upfront amount – You can offer to pay a discount as a lump sum payment immediately. For instance, you can ask for a 25% discount if you pay the reduced amount in full.
Compare prices – You can also compare the cost of service you receive with the prices listed by your insurer. You can use this as leverage during negotiations if you’ve been overcharged for a service.
Ask for help – If you are financially constrained, you can directly discuss this with the hospital’s billing department and seek partial or complete loan forgiveness.
6. Filing for Bankruptcy
The bankruptcy court may help you clear your medical bill debt. One can file for bankruptcy to forgive the pending medical bill debt by the Hospitals.
According to Bankruptcy laws, medical bills and other expenses can be cleared if the applicant qualifies for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7.
In most cases, the courts would give 3 to 5 years to repay their pending medical bills. This time duration is enough for low-income families. This may affect your credit score for the next 10 years.
If all fails, check if you qualify for grants for medical bills provided by the government and charities.
Don’t Pay by Credit Card
When you pay your medical bill through a credit card, hospitals will not be able to do anything about the final price.
Some people put their medical debt on a credit card that charges even more to the consumers. Instead, discuss the available payment options with the concerned authority of the hospital.
You can set medical bill debt at lower interest rates from the hospital’s medical aid programs. Always prefer to go with the hospital-backed medical assistance program to pay your medical bills.
Contact your hospital’s billing department immediately if you cannot afford medical bills. Hospitals are usually eager to help patients, especially those unable to afford medical care.
You can also contact your insurance carrier if you get an unmanageable bill. This way, you can find an efficient and effective way to get medical debt forgiveness and keep your credit score healthy.
Medical Bills can be stressful for those who have not covered their health. Health Insurance Policy or Medicaid is crucial for medical emergencies.
Medical Bill Debt Forgiveness is a great option for those without health coverage or low income.
Medical service providers are always there to assist you with your problems.
First, discuss your financial condition with them to get a flat discount on the medical bills. If the account is high, you can request a charity care program.