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How to Get Help with Medical Bills If You’re on a Fixed Income

Medical bills

Whether you need temporary assistance until you get back on your feet or require long-term support while battling a chronic condition, it’s important to know the steps to take and where to turn when tackling these expenses.

In this article, we’re providing you with five helpful ways to tackle your medical bills on a fixed income.

1. Seek financial assistance

If your income is low, there’s a good chance you may qualify for a discount on your balance whether or not you have insurance. Many healthcare providers offer financial assistance to people who can prove they are in need. If you believe you might be eligible, it may be worth checking into what programs are available.

2. Set up a payment plan

If you don’t have thousands of dollars available to pay your bills, consider using a payment plan. Many medical centers are willing to spread a patient’s bills over 6 to 24 months (about 2 years) to make them more manageable. Be mindful that this option may incur interest charges, which could mean spending more than the original balance.

3. Negotiate a lower balance

Sometimes you can speak with a healthcare provider’s representative and explain the challenges of your financial situation. You may be able to talk your way into getting your balance reduced. This is more likely to be successful if you’re willing to commit to a lump sum payment that’s slightly smaller than the total balance owed. From the health care provider’s perspective, getting paid some percentage of the charges may be better than receiving nothing.

4. Consider applying for a medical loan

If the health care provider doesn’t offer a financing option, you may be able to find a loan from a lender. This is generally done through a special personal loan called a “medical loan.”

Most medical loans are unsecured, meaning the lender won’t require you to put up any collateral. Collateral is when you agree to sign over something of value, such as your home or vehicle, if you default on the loan.

If your credit score is low, you can ask for a secured medical loan for which collateral is required. These loans usually have more competitive interest rates since you’re securing them with an asset.

5. Speak with a medical advisor

If all else fails and you’re still unsure how you’ll ever be able to cover your outstanding medical debt, it may be a good time to reach out for help. Several state and non-profit organizations help struggling Americans with their healthcare expenses. Your provider may even be able to refer one to you.

Don’t be embarrassed to reach out. The sooner you set up an appointment, the sooner you can find out if they can give you the help you need.

The Bottom Line

Figuring out how to consolidate bills is already challenging, especially when you’re on a fixed income. If you find yourself confronted with medical bills, help yourself by talking with the provider about the possibility of financial assistance, reducing your balance, or setting up a payment plan. Additionally, consider getting a medical loan and working with an advisor who can give you some guidance.

Notice: Information provided in this article is for information purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views of [publisher] or its employees. Please be sure to consult your financial advisor about your financial circumstances and options. This site may receive compensation from advertisers for links to third-party websites.

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