Dealing with medical debt can be a stressful and frustrating experience. But by following some simple steps, you can help make the process easier and perhaps avoid getting trapped in a cycle of debt.


The first step is to get an itemized bill that clearly outlines all of your treatment costs. This will help you see exactly what expenses you are responsible for, so that you can determine whether they are reasonable or not. If there are charges on your bill that seem excessive or unnecessary, such as lab fees or prescription charges, don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider and ask them to review the charges with you. Many providers will work with patients if they feel like their charges were too high – it never hurts to ask!


Another important step is to find out if your insurance company covers the medical treatment that you received. Most insurers cover a wide variety of services and procedures, but they may have restrictions or limitations that could affect how much they will pay towards your medical bills. For example, some policies may only cover emergency room visits, while others may not cover certain treatments or prescriptions. Your insurer should be able to provide you with this information, so that you can determine whether any additional costs are your responsibility or not.


If you do end up receiving a large bill from your healthcare provider, don’t panic! There are often several different options when it comes to paying for medical debt, such as payment plans. Many healthcare providers offer extended payment plans for patients who need extra time to pay off their bills, and may even be willing to waive some of your interest or late fees if you can demonstrate that you are on a tight budget.


If your debt has been sent to a collection agency, you have negotiation power. You may be able to negotiate to lower your bill and pay a lower amount over time. If you feel like the debt collector is being aggressive or unreasonable, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Many states have laws in place that protect consumers from harassment and abuse by debt collectors, so it’s important to stand up for yourself and know your rights. There are also non-profit groups and organizations available that provide free assistance with medical debt problems, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help if needed.


At the end of the day, dealing with medical debt doesn’t have to be a stressful experience – as long as you take the time to understand your options and advocate for yourself. By following the steps listed above, you should be able to better manage your medical debt and help to avoid being trapped in a vicious cycle of debt and worry. If you need assistance understanding your medical debt, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our advisors are ready to help.


Any opinions are those of Munn Gray & Associates, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that the statements or opinions provided herein will prove to be correct. As Financial Advisors of Raymond James Financial Services, we are not qualified to render advice on legal matters. You should discuss legal matters with the appropriate professional.