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Strategies for managing medical debt

Many people struggling with medical bills may wonder what their options are for repaying them, especially if those debts are seemingly beyond their means. Medical debt is very common in Texas, and many turn to experts for advice on how to manage the expense. While there are some ways to minimize the financial burden, bankruptcy may be an option for those who are unable to manage the debt over time.

If possible, those owing money for medical bills should take steps to avoid collection agencies getting involved. A collection agency is a third party, which means the path to repaying the bill is less direct than it would otherwise have been. A good way to go about this is to explore payment plans with a hospital or doctor early on.

Even if medical debt ends up with a collection agency, negotiating a more optimal repayment plan or even a lower bottom line may still be an option. Collectors and hospitals alike are often willing to play with the numbers, since they would rather be paid something than nothing at all. Experts say that, on occasion, medical debt can be reduced to one third of the original sum.

It is a good idea for Texas individuals and families struggling with medical debt to explore options with creditors before opting for bankruptcy. Asking for an itemized list of expenses and checking the blue book value of each is also a good way to keep hospitals accountable. Despite the options available for some, many still are forced into bankruptcy due to their medical debt. A lawyer who specializes in these issues can be a helpful guide while sorting out legal options and outcomes.

Source: NBC, "Surviving medical debt: you have some options if you're struggling to pay", Jennifer Profitt, April 27, 2018

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