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Michael D. Hart, P.C.
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Effective strategies for dealing with medical debts

If a person in West Virginia has health insurance, it may still be hard to pay medical bills that he or she incurs to treat a medical condition. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 43 percent of adults with insurance said that they struggled to pay their deductible in 2017. Overall, 43 million Americans have medical debt according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

While medical bills can be difficult to pay, there are steps to prevent that debt from overwhelming a person. For example, it may be possible to negotiate the cost of treatment either before it is rendered or afterward. Researching the average cost for a given medication or procedure ahead of time can give a person a better idea of how much could be saved through negotiating. If a patient still can't afford a bill after negotiating the price down, churches or other charities may be willing to help with medical expenses.

It is also possible to arrange for a payment plan with a medical provider. However, individuals should be sure to get an installment plan as opposed to a medical loan or credit card. This is because installment plans may be interest-free while loans are not. When creating this plan, it's important to take into account other debt obligations and how a medical debt payment fits into a budget.

Individuals who are struggling to pay medical debt might benefit by filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Doing so may make it possible to retain property and lower monthly debt payments. Payment plans last for as long as five years, and any remaining debt balances may be discharged after the repayment period expires. If necessary, those who file for such protection may be allowed to accrue new debt or renegotiate the terms of existing loans.

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Michael D. Hart, P.C.
19 Church Street Southwest
Roanoke, VA 24011

Phone: 540-627-6520
Fax: 540-342-7655
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