A voting group led by Progressive Democrat Stacey Abrams has set a new goal: to help patients get out of medical debt.
“I know firsthand how medical bills and a failing health care system add to family debt.”
According to an Oct. 27 press release, the Fair Fight Political Action Committee donated $ 1.34 million to the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt as part of an effort to help more than 108 000 Americans with unpaid hospital bills. The donation will impact debtors in five southern states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
âFor people of color, the working poor and middle-class families facing crushing costs, we hope to ease the pressure on desperate Americans and on hospitals struggling to stay open,â Abrams said in a statement.
While this action will provide much needed medical debt relief to struggling households, it only covers a fraction of those with unpaid hospital bills. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country, and nearly one in five Americans has unpaid medical bills.
Keep reading to learn more about financial aid for medical bills. If you’re struggling to pay your hospital bills as collections, visit Credible to explore your borrowing options such as personal loans and credit cards.
ACA CALL CENTER WORKERS CAN BARELY PAY FOR THEIR OWN HEALTHCARE COVERAGE: REPORT
3 free ways to lower your medical bills
The fear of being in debt shouldn’t stop you from seeking help in a medical emergency or needed treatment for chronic illnesses and disabilities. Here are some ways to reduce the amount you owe:
- Know your legal rights. Non-profit hospitals are required by the federal government to offer financial assistance programs to low-income and uninsured patients, according to the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC). You can benefit from discounted services, free care, or an interest-free payment plan if you meet the eligibility requirements.
- Negotiate your medical bills. You can get a discount on your bill if you offer to pay in advance. You should also request a detailed invoice from the doctor’s office and an explanation of benefits (EOB) from the health insurer to check for errors such as double billing or lack of coverage.
- Ask for help from a non-profit organization. Medical billing attorneys and credit counselors can help you qualify for full or partial debt relief. Ask your health care provider if they have spokespersons on staff to help you financially.
However, not all patients will be eligible for reduced or reduced cost medical care. If you’ve exhausted all of your options above and still need medical debt relief, it may be necessary to find another way to manage your spending.
AVERAGE INTEREST RATES ON PERSONAL LOANS FALL TO LOW LEVEL IN 2021, FED REPORTS
Are You Not Eligible For Debt Relief? Consider your borrowing options
Unpaid hospital bills can tarnish your credit report and end up in medical collections. Before your debt goes to a collection agency, consider paying your medical bills using one of these methods:
- Credit card
- Personal loans
- Mortgage refinancing in cash
Learn more about each borrowing option in the sections below.
Generally, credit cards can be an expensive borrowing option due to the high interest rates. However, you may be able to pay off your medical debt without paying interest by using a credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer. These can last up to 18 months, which can allow you to pay your hospital bills before interest accrues.
You may also want to consider looking for medical credit cards, which may offer low interest or zero interest payment plans. Keep in mind that credit card approval depends on your creditworthiness, so it can be difficult to qualify for a good deal if you have bad credit.
Compare the 0% APR credit card offers in the table below and in Credible’s online financial marketplace without affecting your credit score.
FAILURE TO RAISE DEBT CEILING MAY LEAD TO INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES, REPORT
If you don’t qualify for a payment plan through the health care provider, consider using a personal loan to split your medical bill into fixed monthly payments. Personal loans are lump sum loans that you pay back over a set period of time, usually a few months or a few years.
Lenders use your credit score to determine your interest rate and loan eligibility, so shop around with several personal lenders to get the best deal for your financial situation. You can compare personal loan rates for free on Credible and use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments.
ARE YOU CONSIDERING A REFINANCING? HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD BLOCK YOUR MORTGAGE RATE NOW
Mortgage refinancing in cash
With record equity, homeowners can consider a cash mortgage refinance to pay off debts, including medical bills. Since mortgage rates are still relatively low, it may be possible to take out a larger mortgage without changing your monthly payment.
While cash mortgage refinancing can give you access to a lump sum of money to pay medical bills, it does have its drawbacks. You will end up paying the closing costs, which are usually around 2-5% of the loan amount.
Browse the current mortgage interest rates in the table below and visit Credible to begin the cash refinancing process.
YOU MAY BE WITH UNCLAIMED LIFE INSURANCE MONEY: HERE’S HOW TO FIND OUT