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Tip 4. Pay Medical Bills on time

Tip 4. Pay Medical Bills on time

If you wait too long, your lack of payment may go to a collection agency and be reported to a credit bureau.

Because many medical expenses are an unplanned, surprise expense, it can be difficult to determine how to pay the bill. This is especially true if your budget is already tight. Unfortunately, this causes many people to avoid opening the bills and to set them aside with the intent to deal with them later.

Medical providers want to help people pay their bills. They are in the business of helping people and they, just like any business, want you to be happy with their service. They also need people to pay their bills in order to cover the costs that insurance companies do not cover. The unfortunate reality is that, between copays and large deductibles, you may end up owing a large debt after insurance has paid its portion.

Generally, hospitals and medical providers will make several attempts to collect payment.  If their phone calls and letters go unanswered, the next step is to send the unpaid account to a collection agency.  Depending on the individual situation, the collection agency may report the debt to a credit bureau, file a lawsuit in small claims court, or take both actions.

The most important step to take when managing your bills is to contact the medical provider. Even if you cannot pay, it is important to explain your situation to them. They may have other repayment options for handling the debt that you are not aware of.

You may also contact American Financial Solutions if you are having trouble paying. Certified credit counselors will work with you to find the best answer to getting your medical bills paid. Also,  if you use a debt management plan, we can work with those creditors, you place on the plan, to end collection efforts.

Published Oct 14, 2011.