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Stay ahead of medical debt before it swells out of control

An unexpected accident or sudden illness can impose a host of difficult challenges on the life of a Livonia resident. Not only must the affected individual find a way to overcome the health problems that he has suddenly contracted but he must also manage the many costs and expenses that are necessary for his life. Mortgages, car payments and other fixed costs do not cease when a person is medically disabled.

In addition to those ongoing costs that a person must regularly pay, new costs in the form of medical expenses will introduce themselves into the affected person's finances shortly after he seeks treatment for his ailments. Serious injuries and prolonged illnesses can cause a person to incur steep bills from hospitals, doctors and other treatment facilities. Before a person is even recovered from his medical situation he can find himself in deep medical debt.

There are several important steps that a person can take to avoid getting buried by medical bills. First, a person should always review and verify the bills that he receives from his medical providers. From time to time billing groups fail to send bills to a person's insurance first; this and other billing mistakes can unnecessarily inflate a patient's costs.

Second, patients should keep all of their bills and records of payment in an organized system. If billing groups or medical providers ever contest that a bill was paid, good records can provide a patient with evidence of compliance. Good records can also help a patient stay on top of the financial obligations that he has accrued.

There are other ways that a person can keep ahead of his medical debts but in some cases a person simply cannot meet all of the financial obligations for which he is responsible. In those situations, the individual may need help to get his finances back on track. Legal options exist that may allow a person to eliminate his debts and restart his life with a clean financial slate.

Source: Michigan State University Extension, "Dealing with medical debt: Part 1," Jinnifer P. Ortquist, Dec. 23, 2014

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