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3 steps to manage medical debt

Medical bills can quickly become unmanageable. This is true for those who are concerned about a recent cancer diagnosis or extended hospital stays due to COVID-19 or another illness or injury. Those who find themselves in this situation likely wonder how medical debt will impact their credit. The follow steps can help you to get control over the situation.

Step #1: Review the bills.

Medical billing mistakes happen. Take the time to make sure the bills are correct and reflect insurance coverage. If not, call and try to get it fixed.

Step #2: Review payment options.

Take some time to reach out to the healthcare provider and see if you can negotiate a lower rate. Once you have the final bill, avoid using a credit card to pay it off. As explained in a recent piece by the Associated Press, the interest tied to credit cards can make an already large bill grow to an even more unmanageable number and led to an avalanche of financial woes.

If you cannot make payments or otherwise pay off the bill, bankruptcy may be an option. Medical debts are generally dischargeable with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition for bankruptcy relief. This means that if the court approves your application for bankruptcy, the medical bills are basically eliminated.

Step #3: Move on.

Whether the bill went unpaid for months or you chose to seek relief through bankruptcy, the debt likely had a negative impact on your credit score. You can work to rebuild your credit score by paying bills on time. With vigilance, your credit score will build over time.

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