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What to know about medical debt


What to know about medical debt

Medical bills are a common reason many people have debt in Kentucky and throughout the country. Some people cannot pay on time, which may lead to being fined late charges or getting turned over to a collection agency. However, a debtor still has options to get out of medical debt.

Understanding what medical debt means

Medical debt refers to debt accrued from using health care services. Statistics reveal that 56% of Americans have medical debt, which may be handled in different ways. In some cases, the medical facility or doctor may attempt collection. If the debt gets sent to collections, the debtor no longer pays the doctor, and they have to make payments to the agency. Consumer Reports says that 30% of Americans get their debt turned over to collections.

How medical debt accrues

Medical debt can accrue even if the debtor stays on top of their finances. Hospital bills, sudden illnesses or accidents, and drug costs are top reasons for medical debt. Given the cost of health care, it could be impossible to avoid debt.

Individuals with the best health insurance can still be responsible for debts. For example, after a car accident, a person may get taken to a doctor not in their network. Insurance still comes with out-of-pocket expenses and possibly denied claims.

Medical debt solutions

People have several options to handle medical debt. A debtor could get a medical loan especially designed for health care debt. These can be obtained through the facility or another lender and often do not requires collateral.

Asking debt forgiveness is another option. Debt forgiveness requires that the patient write a letter to ask a portion of the debt be erased. They also have the options of grants, low-interest credit cards and medical credit cards.

If the debtor sees no way out of medical debt, they might choose to file for bankruptcy. An attorney may be able to provide advice about the available options and assist a person in filing a bankruptcy claim.