Sarah Edwards | October 19, 2022
Summary: If you are struggling to pay off your medical debt, you have options. From financial assistance programs to debt consolidation, here is SoloSuit's guide on medical debt and how to find relief.
Medical debt is a prevalent problem in the United States. Unlike many other countries that offer free, subsidized healthcare to citizens and residents, the United States relies on a system of mainly private health insurers. These companies have a slew of requirements that must be met when patients seek out healthcare.
Depending on the type of health care plan you have, there may be a certain deductible that must be paid before the plan will pay benefits.
You may also be required to visit in-network physicians or specialists when visiting a doctor unless you are willing to pay out-of-pocket expenses for visiting a healthcare provider whose practice isn't covered by your insurer.
According to the most recent U.S. Census, nearly one in five U.S. households reported that they are unable to pay for their medical care upfront. Since medical care should be thought of as an essential service, especially in cases where the patient is injured or severely sick, this statistic is particularly scary.
The only option is to obtain the treatment and suffer the debt you incur or try to get better on your own, which can lead to severe complications and potentially even be fatal.
If you've received treatment for a condition and incurred debt as a result, you may be wondering how to overcome it. Cases of hospitalization can be especially expensive and run into the thousands of dollars, especially if you have a lackluster insurance plan or no insurance at all.
Of the 19% of U.S. households that had medical debt, over half of the individuals surveyed indicated that they owed more than $2,000 to healthcare providers.
While this isn't the place to debate universal health care or better insurance plans, there is a systemic problem that should be addressed. Although efforts have been made to improve the healthcare system with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are still suffering from large medical bills.
Fortunately, there are several ways that you may be able to obtain forgiveness for your medical debt.
If you've obtained a huge bill from a hospital as the result of a stay you weren't expecting or an injury, you may be able to obtain financial assistance. To do this, visit the healthcare provider's website or contact the customer care number on your invoice.
Frequently, a financial assistance policy is in place for those individuals who meet certain income requirements. If you are uninsured at the time of your visit to the hospital but don't meet the requirements for a low-income household, you may be entitled to obtain a self-pay discount.
Instead of ignoring the bill, explore all options available with your healthcare provider to try to negotiate a reduced amount. If you are unable to negotiate a reduced amount, they may allow you to enter into a monthly payment agreement that is compatible with your budget.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often help those who are uninsured or have low incomes pay for their medical debts. For those with chronic conditions who require regular medical care or those who have expensive medications that they must pay for to treat their illness, an NGO can be a true lifesaver.
While often these services don't cover past medical expenses, they can help you with future ones. A few NGOs that help to cover the costs of medical care and pharmaceuticals include:
If your medical bill is significant, or you have other debts that you are struggling to pay off, it may make sense to take out a debt consolidation loan. Under a debt consolidation loan, you are given the funds to pay off all of your outstanding debts, and you'll enter a new loan agreement with your lender.
Instead of paying multiple creditors, you'll pay only a single amount to your lender each month. This consolidation can allow you to save a significant amount of money in interest and potentially pay your outstanding debt faster. To obtain a debt consolidation loan, you'll need to have a decent credit score, generally above 650.
A number of debt settlement agencies offer to settle medical debts. In some cases, you may be able to settle your medical debt for less than 50% of its value. Debt settlement programs work by requiring you to make monthly payments towards settling your debts.
Once you have built up enough of these payments, the agency uses your funds to negotiate a settlement amount.
However, if you decide to enter a debt settlement program, your credit score may take a hit. You'll also be required to pay the settlement agency for its services as your debts are settled, which may cost as much as 25% of the initial value of your debt.
If your medical debt is simply too much to manage and you have no other option, bankruptcy may be an appropriate choice. Depending on your income, you may qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most types of debt may be eliminated. Chapter 13 bankruptcy results in forgiveness of some debts, but you may be required to settle others. A qualified lawyer can help you explore bankruptcy to determine whether it is right for your situation.
If you've recently been sued for a medical debt, you will need to file an Answer with the court or else you'll lose by default. When you lose by default, collectors can garnish your wages or put liens on your property in order to recoup the debt.
SoloSuit can help you respond to a debt lawsuit in 15 minutes.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips
How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts
How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?
How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?
What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?
Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?
If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?
Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?
Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?
Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?
What is a default judgment?— What do I do?
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?
What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?
What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?
What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency
What is a Stipulated Judgment?
What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?
Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?
Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?
Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?
Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?
Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?
Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide
Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?
Should I Marry Someone With Debt?
Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?
How Does Debt Assignment Work?
Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?
How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?
Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?
What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?
Does Student Debt Die With You?
Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?
How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?
How Long Does a Judgment Last?
Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?
Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?
Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?
The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?
Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?
What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?
Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide
How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney
How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know
How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)
Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector
Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency
Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.
Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit
New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt
Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors
The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah
West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt
What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained
Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector
Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt
Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim
Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector
How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment
How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont
North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt
ClearPoint Debt Management Review
Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt
Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say
CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review
How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter
How to Appear in Court by Phone
How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands
Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon
Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next
How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement
Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do
How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection
Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt
Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection
How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa
How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court
Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review
Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?
Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?
How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?
How Long Does a Judgement Last?
How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?
How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court