Medical bills are a huge expense for many people in this country. When these bills are due to an unexpected emergency, they can lead to financial ruin. This is especially true if there are surprise costs associated with the emergency care, which occurs in approximately one out of every six emergency room visits.
A primary issue that comes up in these cases is when you receive care from an "out-of-network" provider in an emergency. Many people who suffer from an injury or illness that requires emergency care aren't thinking about what hospitals are in their insurance network. Unfortunately, getting care from a place that isn't in that network can lead to costly bills.
What should you do when you get an unexpected bill?
One of the first things that you should do is to double check all the bills and make sure that there aren't any errors. You need to ask for an explanation of benefits so that you can go over the charges line by line. You might be shocked to find out that there are often erroneous charges in medical bills. You also need to contact your insurance company to ensure that you received all payments that it was responsible for paying.
What happens if you can't pay the bill?
There are a few options when you can't pay the bill. The one thing that you should never do is try to ignore the bill because this can lead to your being turned over to a collection agency, which can make your life even more difficult. Instead, contact the billing department and explain the situation.
Some individuals might qualify for charity care, which means that the hospital absorbs the balance of the bill after insurance pays. Others might be able to enter into a payment agreement that allows you to pay the balance off over time. A final option is to file for bankruptcy protection to do away with the bills if they are overwhelming you.
It is important to think about all options before you make a final decision about what you are going to do to handle the medical bills. Think about the situation you are in but be realistic as you think about what you might want to do. You must have a livable base of money while also paying off the medical bills.