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How patients can work to diminish medical debt

On Behalf of | May 31, 2019 | Chapter 13 Bankruptcy |

Lots of Virginia residents find themselves facing insurmountable debt. In many cases, that debt arises due to medical bills. Even insured patients can rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills if they need pricey specialized treatment, expensive prescription drugs or out-of-network specialists. In fact, medical bills are the leading contributor to personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S. There are a few steps that people can take to help avoid medical debt or find relief if they are already struggling.

It can be very important for an individual to fully understand their insurance plan and advocate for themselves with its bureaucracy. Out-of-network exclusions can be a particular problem, especially when a particular out-of-network provider is the only good source of care in a certain region. Another issue to understand is the insurer’s policies for getting specialist visits, lab tests or other forms of care approved in advance in order to avoid unwanted bills later on.

Patients who are already dealing with treatments that are not covered or escalating medical bills could adopt other strategies. It’s important to review a bill closely to make sure it’s correct. Those who have already obtained treatment may be able to organize a payment plan with the health care company, especially if the office knows that an individual is paying rather than an insurance company.

On the other hand, people who are buried under thousands of dollars in medical debt that they cannot repay may be looking for a permanent solution for debt relief. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could eliminate or restructure personal debts such as medical bills. An attorney can provide advice and guidance on navigating the bankruptcy process.