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How to Find Medical Debt Forgiveness Programs

Sarah Edwards | October 19, 2022

Getting out of medical debt feels like ^^

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.

What should I do if I have medical debt?

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.

Ask for financial assistance from your hospital

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.

Seek out help from an NGO

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:

  • HealthWell Foundation: If you're battling a chronic disease that requires ongoing treatment, you may be able to find assistance with the HealthWell Foundation. It provides financial assistance for underinsured or uninsured individuals for expenses including prescription drugs, health insurance premiums, and deductibles. Frequently, funds provided are determined by the type of medical condition that you have.
  • The PAN Foundation: This foundation also helps underinsured or uninsured individuals with chronic illnesses access inexpensive medications and treatments. For assistance, you'll need to meet certain financial requirements and have a chronic condition. This NGO is a great option for those struggling to cover rising medication costs.

Use a debt consolidation loan

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.

Go the debt settlement route

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.

Consider declaring bankruptcy

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.

Are you being sued for a medical debt?

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.

What is SoloSuit?

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.

Respond with SoloSuit

"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

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