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Handling medical bills more effectively

Medical bills can leave New Hampshire families struggling emotionally and financially, but there are effective ways to handle the expenses and bring the stress level down slightly. Proactive management is necessary to address the medical debt and prevent it from becoming a greater burden. When it comes to medical bills, consumers often wind up dealing with doctors, hospitals, treatment centers, health insurance companies and collection agencies. This is why it is so important for people to know what steps to take when they start accumulating high medical bills.

Keeping track of the bills is the first order of business. Every bill should be reviewed for accuracy, and any overcharges or services that were not received should be disputed through the affiliated billing office. It is also possible to speak with medical providers about lowering the overall bill to make it more manageable. Finally, payment plans can help people keep their bills out of collections and avoid having any negative information reported to the credit bureaus. Consumers can call the billing agency directly to discuss acceptable arrangements and set up a plan.

In some cases, people may not have insurance, or their insurance may not cover all charges. Low-income patients may qualify for Medicaid if they lack insurance. If an insurance company is denying part or all of a claim, then patients can file a dispute with the company to have that decision reviewed and possibly reversed. Once the bills are finalized and payment arrangements are in place, people should take steps to follow through with the payment schedule and have the bill taken care of in a timely manner.

When people are struggling with hospital bills and other medical debt, they can also speak with an attorney about settlement options. The hospitals and doctors may agree to write off a certain amount of a bill in exchange for having the balance paid in full immediately. Attorneys who are familiar with this process can ensure that the arrangements are followed through with and negative information is not put on the consumer's credit report.

Source: Debt.org, "Medical Debt and Collections", Bill Fay, October 06, 2014

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