Even with health insurance, a single medical bill can quickly drive you and your finances into the ground. The stress and anxiety of bill collectors calling and looming debt have you losing sleep and feeling depressed. How do you find lasting relief?
AARP notes a few suggestions. Find a way out of your mental, emotional and financial quagmire.
Medical payment plans
Reach out to your physician or healthcare facility to see if they offer medical payment plans, an option you may not know about until you ask about it. That way, you can stretch out your payments over several months, but expect to pay interest. Just like with a standard loan, determine how much you can realistically afford each month. Also, you may have to submit documents and statements that prove your inability to pay.
If you feel comfortable doing so, reach out to your community, family and friends through a crowdfunding platform to help cover a percentage of your medical bills. Leave crowdfunding as a measure of last resort, as people are often more willing to donate if you show you tried to take care of your debt on your own first. Either way, be specific in letting people know how you plan on using the funds; do not leave matters open to misinterpretation.
Do you have any assets you can use to cover your bills? Retirement, home equity and a second mortgage are all common options. Before tapping assets, understand your risk, whether you have to pay anything back and how utilizing your assets affects your retirement and future financial health.
Medical debt is undoubtedly unfortunate, but it does not have to ruin your peace of mind. Explore your options and take action so you can focus on making a full recovery.