Table of Contents Hide
- What Is Medical Debt Forgiveness Act?
- How To Negotiate Medical Debt Forgiveness Act
- What Options Do I Have To Clear Medical Debt?
- Medical Debt Forgiveness Act FAQs
- What Do You Do If You're Uninsured But Need Health Care?
- What Happens If I Can't Pay My Medical Bills?
Medical debt can be a heavy burden for people living in the US. Even with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for simple procedures can easily reach thousands of dollars, leaving many people with the impossible task of paying and juggling debt.
This guide will help you understand Medical Debt Forgiveness Act and the options available to you that can help you manage your medical debt and get help if you need it.
What Is Medical Debt Forgiveness Act?
The Medical Debt Relief Act is a federal law that was introduced in early 2021 and aims to give consumers more rights when paying off medical debt.
It will change the rules that determine what types of debt can appear on a person’s consumer credit report — information that affects their credit score.
The Medical Debt Relief Act is a potential piece of legislation proposed by Congress that affects how medical debt appears on a consumer’s credit report. The law has not yet been signed.
The bill would amend sections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If the bill passes, there will be a one-year waiting period for medical debt.
During this time, the medical debt could not be added to your credit report. Also, once you’ve settled or paid off your medical debt, it will be removed from your credit report.
ALSO CHECK: What is Debt Service? What You Should Know
How To Negotiate Medical Debt Forgiveness Act
If you want to discuss your bill, talk to your health care facility’s health care manager—the person who actually has the authority to lower your bill.
Don’t wait until your account is delinquent or in collection, then your credit score could be affected. Talk to someone as soon as you get the bill to make sure it’s correct.
If you’re on a low income or experiencing financial hardship—even if the hardship is solely related to your medical bills—apply for hardship assistance. Hospital Charity Benefit may be available depending on your income and savings.
In fact, state law requires some hospitals to provide free or discounted services to low-income patients. Once your bills come in, let your providers know if health problems have affected your income and ability to pay.
One strategy for justifying a lower fee is to compare the price you were quoted to the price charged by other providers in your area.
Use websites like NewChoiceHealth.com or HealthcareBluebook.com to get an idea of what you should pay. If you have health insurance, your insurance company’s website may also have a tool that allows you to get estimated cost of care for various procedures.
What Options Do I Have To Clear Medical Debt?
Settlement Schemes With The Creditor
If you’ve ever had a medical bill, you may have been offered a payment plan to pay off the debt. Payment plans can be a successful way to pay off debt as long as the plan is reasonable and fits your budget.
Payment plans are not loans. Your bill is broken down into smaller monthly payments with minimal penalties and low interest, so your debt is more manageable. Consider the following for a successful payment plan:
Debt Reduction And Debt Forgiveness Through Self-Negotiations
Discussing your own medical bills is possible and common. Sometimes a health care provider will work with you if you can pay a certain amount of your bill in cash.
If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your provider to give you the payout rate that those who do have insurance. You can also ask about interest-free payment plans.
For some health care providers, collecting some of the money they are owed is better than not collecting anything at all. If you can offer to pay a percentage of your bill, you are more likely to be able to negotiate the rest in management fees or forgiveness.
Check Medical Bills
With any bill, you should carefully monitor what you are being billed for and ensure that your insurance has been properly applied. Always ask
Always ask for an itemized bill and look for any treatment or medication that was never received, duplicate bills, and other errors or places to reduce the fee.
See A Medical Debt Counselor And Attorney For Help
If you feel overwhelmed by your bills, you can contact a counselor or solicitor to discuss your medical bills on your behalf.
A good counselor will help review your bills, work with your healthcare provider, set up a budget, and develop a personal plan for you.
To make sure your counselor/attorney is legitimate; make sure they are accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). You can work directly with any of these sites to find a consultant or attorney.
Medical Credit Card
As health care costs continue to rise, financial institutions have begun creating credit cards specifically designed to pay off medical debt.
While these cards can help you save cash and, in some cases, provide immediate access to medical care if you need it, there are downsides to consider.
Watch out for high interest rates and the need to pay for treatment in full when you may not receive full treatment.
Unsecured Loans And Debt Consolidation
If your medical bills are too high to pay off with a payment plan, you may be able to take out a personal loan or take advantage of debt consolidation.
Personal loans are unsecured loans because they do not require collateral if the loan is defaulted, but they usually have high interest rates.
The same goes for debt consolidation. Debt consolidation puts all of your separate medical debts onto one credit card or loan with a low interest rate. Then you will make one payment per month to reduce the debt.
However, you’ll still likely face a much higher interest rate than starting a payment plan directly through your doctor’s office, which may offer an interest-free payment plan.
Apply For Financial Assistance
If you are in a low-income group and have high medical bills, you may qualify for a hardship exemption or financial assistance through your hospital or health care provider.
Many hospitals have assistance programs or charitable programs to help offset medical expenses. In some cases, your local government or local nonprofit groups may also offer financial assistance options.
You can learn about these options by talking to your ISP and contacting your local agency.
A medical bill can be unexpected and very difficult to plan for. Putting money away in an emergency fund can help, but it may not cover all expenses.
If you can’t pay off your bill by the due date, you may start collecting medical debt. Just like other types of debt, medical debt can be added to your credit report and ultimately affect your credit score. This, in turn, can hurt your ability to finance future purchases.
Fortunately, there has been a recent debate about medical debt and how credit bureaus are allowed to process this information. One such example is what some call the “Medical Debt Relief Act,” but is officially known as the Medical Debt Relief Act or the Medical Debt Relief Act.
This article outlines the most important things you need to know about the Medical Debt Forgiveness Act. In addition to a general overview of what the act provides, you’ll also learn how it may affect those with medical debt and what those with medical debt should do to get debt relief.
Medical Debt Forgiveness Act FAQs
What Do You Do If You're Uninsured But Need Health Care?
If you are uninsured but need health care, you may be eligible for public coverage, such as Medicaid or Medicare. Ask your provider or hospital if they can help you verify your eligibility before you commit to a care plan, and then stick with providers that participate in these programs.
After your doctors create your treatment plan, check to make sure all the providers you need to see are in network and whether any part of your treatment needs to be pre-authorized. Ask lots of questions of your insurer, doctor’s office, or hospital, especially about routine procedures
What Happens If I Can't Pay My Medical Bills?
We haggle over a lot of things: the price of a car, our salary at a new job, how much we’ll pay for a flea market find, and who’s going to empty the smelly trash can… So why not haggle over our medical bills? Yes, it can be done. More than 90% of people in the US who negotiated a medical bill had the bill reduced.
You may be able to pay less than you owe and pay off your debt by offering to pay what you can afford right now. Health care providers and debt collectors may agree to accept your offer rather than trying to collect (possibly unsuccessfully) later.
Start by talking to your healthcare provider. Medical facilities may be willing to work with you and charge less than they originally billed.
- investopedia.com – Medical Debt: What to Do When You Can’t Pay
- meettally.com – What Would the Medical Debt Forgiveness Act Mean for You?