Maintain Open Communication with Medical Bill Debt
The Affordable Care Act is cracking down on some of the most aggressive ways that hospitals categorized as charitable or nonprofit facilities for tax exemption can seek to shake money out of patients. Reports of the new laws also often offer some of the most common advice to protect you and your family from unfair or excessive medical debt.
Always Talk to Your Providers
One of the biggest pieces of advice is to always ask up front about available charity and financial assistance programs. It’s a great idea to ask about health care costs, and detail payment options, before you sign up for any given course of treatment. But beyond this, dialogue with the provider is also a key to keeping medical bills from showing up on credit reports. It’s true that even with the best back channel dialogue, some hospital administrators will still send bills to collections, but having an open communication with the provider will prevent this in the majority of cases where reasonable financial offices simply ask that patients keep in touch about their debt and pay to the best of their ability.
Make Sure You Are Covered
Essentially, the Affordable Care Act can be seen as a double-edged sword – depending on what side of the table you are on. For the vast majority of citizens, though, who want healthcare coverage to protect themselves from more medical debt than necessary, the new law is a good thing, and not a burden. The one downside, however, is that if you do not have healthcare coverage, you must look for a policy in order to prevent penalties and additional taxes. But, almost anyone seeking medical care would rather be covered than pay their healthcare costs out-of-pocket. This is where the Affordable Care Act comes in handy. Those seeking coverage can make use of the following:
- a disclaimer stating that the cost of the healthcare policy must not exceed 8% of family income
- a rule that those 26 and under may stay on a family health insurance plan
- rules preventing health insurance companies from dropping patients due to pre-existing conditions
- state health-care exchanges that will provide access to more affordable policies
Basically, look for some or all of these new aspects of the law to be implemented in your state and take advantage of these new provisions to get the healthcare coverage you need to avoid high amounts of medical debt in the future. Continue to be proactive about your health care and health insurance status to protect yourself from excessive medical bill costs.