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Ways to handle medical debt in Texas

Having good health insurance in Texas doesn’t mean that all medical bills get paid. Health insurance only covers so much of the debt, and the insured has to pay the remainder, which can add up. Unpaid debts often result in collection agencies trying to collect payments. Some people file bankruptcy to remove medical debt, but they have other options available.

Ignoring debt is a bad idea

Statistics show that over 130 million Americans had a medical hardship in 2019. However, it doesn’t mean a person should ignore bills. Ignoring the bills doesn’t make them go away, and they could get turned over to collections. Some collection agencies report unpaid debt to credit bureaus, which lowers credit scores.

Negotiation

Many medical facilities use the charge master to itemize goods and services to generate bills. This cost typically runs more than the insurance company’s cost and shows the full expense of services. For example, if a surgery costs $10,000, an insured patient could get the bill for $5,000, but an uninsured patient would have to pay full cost.

A patient may be able to negotiate down to what it would cost with insurance or at least less than what they owe. Many medical facilities are more than willing to negotiate instead of someone not paying anything.

Financial assistance and charity

Some medical facilities offer a hardship plan that makes payments easier for patients based on income. The facility may lower the bill and use the remaining balance to devise a plan.

Charity care in participating for-profit medical facilities offers assistance to low-income patients who can’t afford to pay the full cost. Nonprofit hospitals are required to screen patients for it before bills go to collections.

Personal bankruptcy might be the only option to get out of medical debt. If a debtor feels they can no longer manage debts, a bankruptcy attorney may help them evaluate their options.

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