Most people in Indianapolis go to the doctor or hospital because they have to.
In some cases, treatment is necessary in order to protect a person’s life or ability to fully function. In other situations, the alternative to treatment is the possibility of pain, disability or other serious complications. In still other cases, a parent or other person just wanted to be sure that a loved one was okay because the loved one seemed ill or injured.
The problem with the inevitable medical bills is that they are expensive, even when insurance is available. For example, what seems like a minor procedure with a one-night hospital stay can cost thousands of dollars, and the cost of more significant or ongoing care can be astronomical.
The other difficulty with medical bills is that they are open-ended. It is very hard to know what a procedure or treatment will cost until one gets the bill, which is usually due upon receipt.
The bottom line is that even the most financially responsible Indiana resident with a regular income can easily be on the receiving end of a medical bill he or she cannot afford to pay.
There is no guarantee that a medical provider will agree to negotiate
There are ways to negotiate a medical bill outside of the bankruptcy process.
For starters, it never hurts to make sure the bill is accurate, as costly errors sometimes appear on the final bill and never get caught. On a related point, issues with service or quality of care can be addressed through negotiation.
If the bill is accurate, then a person may be able to get a hardship discount or convince the provider to charge the same lower rates it would have charged an insurance carrier for the procedure.
The provider may also be willing to take a lower lump sum payment to satisfy the debt. If all else fails, a person may be able to arrange for an affordable and interest free payment plan.
However, a provider does not have to offer any of these benefits at all, even if a person hires a billing advocate to help with negotiations. The provider can demand money or pursue collection options, including the filing of a lawsuit.
Bankruptcy is backed by the federal court system
A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the best option for a person struggling with medical debt. Generally speaking, a successful bankruptcy will stop the collection of medical bills immediately and, at the conclusion of the case, will discharge these unsecured debts.