Legal Tips for Medical Debt Settlement
Healthcare costs are soaring, and many Americans do not have adequate health insurance coverage. As a result, medical debt is on the rise. A recent study showed that 41% of all working-age Americans — 72 million people — have medical debt problems or are currently paying off medical debt. Additionally, seven million elderly adults also have medical debt. In total, 79 million Americans struggle to pay off medical debt.
If you are one of the 79 million Americans struggling to pay your medical debt, working with an experienced medical debt lawyer can help. After reviewing your financial situation, a medical debt lawyer will use one of many medical debt settlement strategies.
Carefully Review All of Your Medical Debt
The first step in medical debt settlement is to analyze your medical debt carefully. You would be surprised how many doctors’ offices and insurance companies make significant errors when drafting and sending medical bills to patients. Many doctors’ offices automate the medical bill process, and if someone has not carefully reviewed your bill, you could end up paying significantly more than you should.
When you or your loved one have undergone extensive medical treatment, you may have hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in medical bills. Going through all of your medical bills can seem intimidating, but it is an important first step in medical debt settlement. Ignoring medical bills that come in the mail can cost you even more money in interest should your bill go to collections.
Scrutinize Your Medical Bills for Errors
You may have been charged for a medical procedure you never received, or you could have been billed for staying overnight at the hospital when you were released before you had been there 24 hours. You have a right to request an itemized breakdown of all the costs reflected on your medical bills so you can check for wrongful billing. Be sure to check for unnecessary hidden charges, as well.
When you find mistakes in your medical bill, you can request that the healthcare office put your debt on hold for 30 days so you can review your bill. This is one way to avoid your medical bills being sent to collection to give you time to consult with a medical debt lawyer about your case and determine the best way forward.
Negotiate With Your Medical Provider
Many medical providers are open to negotiating medical debt. They would rather receive a partial payment than received no payment and have to deal with hiring a collections agency. You can call your medical provider and ask them to negotiate with you. You may be able to work out a deal with a no-interest payment plan so you can pay over time and avoid being sent to collections.
Or, ask if your medical provider will accept the insurance rate, which could be lower than what they expect you to pay. Negotiating with medical providers can be intimidating, and we recommend working with an experienced medical debt settlement lawyer who can negotiate a start of really on your behalf.
Consider Applying for Medicaid
Many Americans with significant medical debt fall below the poverty line and cannot pay their mortgage, rent, and other bills. Suppose a medical condition has drained your savings and assets. In that case, you may qualify for Medicaid, a government program that provides healthcare for people with limited resources and income. When you are eligible for Medicaid, your health care will be covered, and you will not add any more medical debt to your current medical debt.
Consider the Statute of Limitations
Consider whether your medical debt has already passed the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. The statute of limitations for medical debt is typically between three and six years. The statute of limitations begins when your medical debt becomes delinquent, not when you received the medical service. One of the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Cibik & Cataldo can help you determine whether your debt is outside the statute of limitations and should be canceled.
Try to Eliminate Liens
In some cases, Health Care Providers have a right to issue a lien against you when you do not pay medical bills. They can record a lien in the public record with the County Recorder. Medical providers file liens to ensure they get paid. If you cannot pay your medical bills, they can begin taking action to foreclose on your property. Our lawyers focus on eliminating the underlying medical debt and seek to eliminate the lien on behalf of our clients.
Verify the Debt
Medical bills are difficult to unravel. As part of the medical debt settlement process, our attorneys can force the medical provider or collection agency to verify all of the debt. During this process, we will look for any grounds possible to eliminate or reduce the debt. Verifying the debt is one way to hold healthcare agencies accountable for all of their billing practices.
Stop Harassment by Debt Collectors
During the debt settlement process, we can help ensure that collection agencies stop harassing our clients. Collection agencies must follow federal debt collection laws that prohibit them from harassing debtors by showing up at their work or calling them an excessive number of times. If a debt collector has been unlawfully harassing you, you may be entitled to damages under federal law.
File for Bankruptcy
Medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the United States. Filing for bankruptcy is often seen as a last resort. However, if you have extensive medical debt, filing for bankruptcy could give you and your family the fresh start you need. Our legal team can examine your situation and help you understand all of your legal options, including filing for bankruptcy.
Contact a Medical Debt Lawyer
The attorneys at Law Offices of Cibik & Cataldo can help you seek relief from your medical debt, stop debt collectors from harassing you, and advise you of all of your legal options. You do not have to go through the medical debt process alone. Contact us to learn how we can help you solve your medical debt challenges.