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3 important facts about medical debt

Whether a person makes a trip to the emergency room for a couple of stitches or must check into an Oregon hospital to undergo a serious medical procedure, the resulting bills may be devastating. Everyday Health points out that knowing how to handle medical debt could make a major difference in finances.

Here are three considerations.

1. Billing errors could drive up the total

It may be easy to assume that because the bill is itemized, each charge has been verified for accuracy. There are many people involved in providing care, determining charges, examining insurance claims and assessing the total the patient must pay. A mistake could happen at any level, from a duplicate charge to a wrongfully denied insurance claim. The bill should be studied in detail before it is paid.

2. A medical bill may be sent to collections

Some people may believe that the due date on medical bills is flexible, especially when the total is high. However, once a payment is late, the provider could send the account to collections, and a person may not even receive notification until the collector calls. If it is obvious that the bill cannot be paid before it is overdue, a person should call the billing department of the provider or facility and request a payment plan.

3. Medical debt can affect credit scores

While things have changed for the better in recent years regarding how unpaid health care expenses affect people’s credit reports, U.S. News warns that a medical bill in collections could still trigger a lower credit score. Some lenders do not believe that the presence of medical debt should affect a person’s creditworthiness, but many do, and they have the right to use it as the basis for a denial. 

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