Some medical procedures can be planned and budgeted for. Most of the time, however, people are faced with an unexpected medical emergency or injured in an accident, leaving them unable to work and making it difficult to pay costly medical bills. Regardless of the circumstances, the bills can quickly pile up and create overwhelming medical debt. Following are a few tips to help our readers in Lane County negotiate their medical bills to make the debt more manageable.

Always double check your medical bills and compare the amount billed by the health care providers against your insurance coverage. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you may want to consider enlisting help from a medical-bill advocate to identify errors and possibly negotiate lower charges as well. Otherwise, you will want to go through each of your bills line by line to make sure that you weren’t double billed or overcharged for anything. If you don’t receive an itemized bill, ask for one! It is also a good idea to verify that the dates you were in the hospital’s care are correct, as well as the time of your admittance and discharge. If you find any errors or unnecessary charges, you will want to speak with an employee in the billing office to make the proper adjustments. Even if you don’t find any inaccuracies on your bill, you may still be able to negotiate a lower amount due by sitting down in-person with someone in the billing office.

If you simply can’t afford to pay your medical bills even after trying to negotiate a lower rate, it could be beneficial to speak with a bankruptcy attorney regarding your legal options. An attorney can provide you with accurate information to help you make the best financial decision for your unique circumstances.

Source: Motley Fool, “Tips to Negotiate Your Medical Bills,” Bisi Ibrahim, Sep. 22, 2013.