Whether you have health insurance or not, you can easily end up with a hefty bill after you receive emergency care, have routine tests run or undergo a procedure in Oregon. If your first reaction to seeing the total is disbelief, this is a good sign that you should investigate further. Our team at The Law Office of Kim Covington is aware of the many ways that health care expenses may be inaccurate, and how people can seek to reduce or eliminate medical debt that they cannot afford.
Medical Debt Archives
As patients in Oregon and elsewhere are aware, medical expenses can be staggering, even for those who have health insurance. All it would take is for one accident or serious illness to put a person in significant debt. Many of today’s insurance options cover only a portion of medical expenses, forcing patients to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket for copays, deductibles, medication and treatment not covered by their plan.
In previous posts, the issue of medical debt was described as being one of the most serious and pervasive forms of debt plaguing Americans today. The problem continues for residents of Eugene and elsewhere. Even those with medical insurance may suffer from staggering debt. Some say that there is an unjust discrepancy between the salaries that hospital executives earn, while average citizens are burdened with medical bills they cannot afford.
In 2014, a survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund found that approximately 64 million people across the U.S. were grappling with medical debt, according to a USA Today report. Like others in Oregon, you may think mounting health care bills are a problem that are only experienced by those without health insurance. However, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the buildup of medical debt, whether you are insured or not.
If you have a medical debt that you believe may not be accurate, you have the right to dispute the claim. The easiest time for you to resolve the issue is when you first receive a bill from the medical provider. However, you may still be able to correct the problem even if the debt has gone to collections.
Medical debt is one of the largest financial issues that Oregon residents face. According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one quarter of families are burdened by their medical debts. Additionally, 16 percent of families have difficulty paying at least one medical bill and another 10 percent are unable to pay their medical bills at all. These types of debts can have long-term consequences for the financial health of those who are unable to pay them, causing many people years of stress and negative marks on their credit scores. When a person’s credit score is marked down due to unpaid medical bills, it can have further implications for finding and keeping a job, getting approved for housing or getting the resources to pay for transportation.
The inability to pay some or all of one’s medical bills can be one of the most distressing situations people face. When the ever-increasing cost of medical care is paired with the fact that people have little control over the type of care they need, it creates a situation where patients either have to forgo needed medical attention or promise to pay bills they may not be able to afford. A new survey, the National Health Interview Survey, indicates that as many as 32 percent of non-elderly people in the nation may be in this situation.
Medical bills are one of the leading causes of debt and bankruptcy in the U.S. each year. According to the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, 41 percent of people aged 19-64 disclosed that they had trouble paying their medical bills or associated medical debt. As one of the largest problems facing Americans today, it is essential that patients know what to do when they have difficulty paying their medical bills.
Some Oregon patients may be facing extreme medical debt due to illegal billing practices made by their medical care providers, Bloomberg reports. Doctors, hospitals and other providers often implement a practice known as balance billing in order to receive as much money as possible from patients after treatment. While the practice is illegal when in-network providers are involved, many patients are threatened by debt collectors and pay in full without ever being aware of their rights.
If your loved one is facing end-of-life decisions in Oregon, the fear of leaving medical debt behind for family members to pay should not be a barrier to treatment or comfort. We at the Kim Covington Law Offices understand that medical expenses not covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid can have devastating effects on your finances. Trying to come up with solutions can cause significant difficulties while you are attempting to deal with loss and grief, but the cost of care is not something that you want your family member to worry about.