Medical Debt and Your Retirement

The start of a new year can have you thinking about your health.  Joining a gym can be a goal for some as we head into 2018 but if you are planning for retirement, there is another side of health that needs to be considered; medical debt.  We sometimes forgo the care we need because we do not want to touch our retirement savings. We spend our whole lives planning for retirement, only to have it taken away from us if we do not plan accordingly.

We can feel guilty and ashamed of our debt. We can look at our debt as our inability to be responsible and pay what we owe. Luckily, there are ways you can fight this situation.

1) You need to check for errors in your files. A recent study found that between 7-50%  of all patient files have at least one error. Doctors can get their information wrong every so often.

You can ask for a copy of your hospital bills. Compare those bills to the ones you got in the mail. Bills can contain errors. Why did you get charged for their errors?  Healthcare providers have a lot of moving parts and mistakes happen, unfortunately, it is often your job to fix them.

You should speak with your insurance company, too.  Some insurance companies have a reputation of not putting out any additional money than they need to.  You need to go over your records and the insurance records. Did you find any errors? Call them up and speak to someone.

2) You could try to negotiate your bill. Some of the charges might be unfair. Call up your representative and talk to them. If you have shown good faith payments in the past, they might be willing to work with you. You can try asking for a discount. You pay a large amount right away and they give you a 25% discount. A plan like that may or may not work. You could give it a try at least.

3) You can to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Talk to a negotiator who works in the healthcare field or billing. You can try signing up for a plan where you make small monthly payments.

Speak with a caseworker. A casework is skilled in that area. They will know what to look for.