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What Are The Consequences If You Can’t Pay Medical Bills?

Health care costs are growing every day, and piling medical debt is becoming a sad reality for many. In fact, The Commonwealth Fund found that more than 40 percent of Americans struggle to pay hospital bills or other medical debt. Even with health insurance, medical bills continue to stack up for Americans. With those large rises in bills comes an increase in the amount of medical bills that go unpaid, even for those who are well-covered with insurance plans. And with unpaid medical bills, comes consequences.  

We’re here to explain exactly what can happen if you can’t pay your medical bills.


What Health Care Providers Do if You Can’t Pay Medical Bills

Every business exists to make money. When they don’t get paid, they seek ways to recoup their money. This is just as true for health care providers as it is for other businesses. As with unpaid utility bills or car payments, medical provider debt may be turned over to a collection agency. If these debt collectors are not paid, your credit report may suffer damage. If your doctor’s office or healthcare provider comes to you for debt collection for the medical care you received, be helpful and work to pay your debts. If you’re paying late, you may have interest piled on your payments, and in some cases, the collector may force wage garnishment upon you. In the event you reach this point, there is no option but to pay your debt and possibly interest on what you owe.  

What Happens if You Don’t Pay an Ambulance Bill?

Medical bills can be difficult to pay off, and ambulance bills make it worse. Often unreasonably high, the cost of an ambulance ride can set you back hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Then, unpaid ambulance bills can also cause you to be passed to debt collectors. And when these debt collection specialists get on your case, cutting a deal for a lowered payback amount can be difficult. Therefore, it’s a good idea to skip the ambulance ride if possible. But sometimes there’s no choice. If so, set up a payment plan immediately to avoid debt you can’t pay. Or, see if you can negotiate the cost of the ambulance bill.  

How to Avoid Having Unpaid Medical Bills

Massive health emergencies may put you in medical debt overnight. And usually, they’re unavoidable. However, you can often protect yourself from piling up unpaid medical bills. Here’s how to avoid unpaid medical bills altogether:

1. Call Your Medical Provider Early

A good first option to prevent medical bills from piling up is to contact your medical provider early. Let them know you need to set up a payment plan. Most doctor’s offices and hospitals are compassionate and want to help their patients.

2. Seek Help From Medicare

If you have low income and are struggling to get by, you have great options as well. Investigate whether you’re eligible for Medicare or other insurance plans.

3. Seek Financial Assistance

Then, find out what financial assistance is available to protect against excessive medical debt. With a little bit of legwork, you can often reduce or even eliminate medical bills.  

Advice from Medical Billing Advocates

Despite their high costs, excessive medical bills are relatively easy to challenge. This is especially true today, given the negative press some hospitals have received due to astronomical fees for routine things such as IV drips or non-invasive outpatient procedures. Should you receive hospital bills that are beyond your ability to pay, don’t fret. Contact your hospital’s billing department to discuss a payment plan. In the event that is not satisfactory, research medical billing advocates for additional assistance.  

Emergency Short Term Financial Assistance

When a medical emergency strikes or you have to buy medication for an ongoing medical issue, there’s no time to wait around to figure out how to pay. Fortunately, you can get financial assistance in the form of an Installment Loan. A form of personal loans, an Installment Loan from Check Into Cash allows you to receive more much-needed funds, with more time to pay them back. Installment Loans are only available in certain areas, so try our Store Locator to see if you’re eligible. Compared to the interest on unpaid medical bills or the fees associated with a bounced check, an Installment Loan may be your best option. Interested in learning more or getting started on your Installment Loan with Check Into Cash? Read more about Installment Loans here.

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