My medical bills are out of control what can I do?

Medical Debt

We at Wasatch Smart Finance are not fond of the medical industry, nor are we fond of medical billing practices. We feel between medical institutes and insurance companies this “business” sector could not be more confusing. Not only that what the industry gets away with, taking a stab in the dark at what’s wrong with you usually getting it wrong and still get to charge a hefty amount? Think if your car mechanic behaved as your doctor did?

How many of you received a bill from a medical institute and it was way more than what you thought it should have cost? How many of you received a bill and you thought the bill was outrageous or even worse you received a bill because your insurance company came up with a bogus reason not to pay it. The last thing you ever want to do is ignore a bill from the medical institute, the earlier you address it be the more favorable the outcome will be for you.

When you get to a medical institute for treatment let them know right away that want to know how much everything is going to cost upfront. Many medical facilities try to assist with keeping this transparent and have financial counselors to help you weed through the confusion. Ask to see one, ask them to commit to the price of what things cost. Take a video of the counselor saying exactly what things cost. Another step might be to see what type of financing they have available. Ensure this financing is zero percent financing.

Another idea is to check upfront for medical institutes that use upfront pricing. Here is a startup called HealthCare Bluebook. They try to refer you to providers with upfront pricing and could save you hundreds to thousands in charges if you are paying out of pocket. They even have a mobile app you can use. My own costs for similar procedures in the same metro area with different hospitals differed greatly.

If you have insurance, call your insurance company to find out why they did not pay any outstanding items. If you have met your deductible already and have a large bill, take the time to find out what their appeal process is for medical claims. Most of the time all you need to do is submit a letter explaining why you are expecting them to pay. This should be inside your Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Remember the denial is just a first out the door no to you. Most of the time insurance companies do not want the hassle of complaints filed against them and will do the right thing and pay the bill.

Often I have received a bill that had no itemized invoice. I am unsure why they think it is okay to send a bill like this. Call them and let them know you want the bill itemized. You want to know every single detail. Don’t be surprised when you receive that bill there are numerous items you never thought you would be charged for. Call or write to them and dispute every single item with that institute. If the individual charges are ridiculously priced let them know. Remember this bill is just a first request for payment. They get told no by insurance companies, why shouldn’t they hear it from you?

If you have had no luck with the insurance company or you just don’t have insurance, you are automatically paying more for the same services than someone with insurance is paying. One of the big problems with health care in America is the medical institute must throw a big bill at the insurance company to get them to pay a small bill. Sometimes what they charge is 2 to 3 times as much to get that small amount. After reviewing the bill you receive from the medical institute be prepared to send them a letter asking for a reduction of the bill to mirror what an insurance company would pay.

There are always discounts if you ask for them. I myself have often gotten a discount (20%) by agreeing to pay the same day when I call the medical institute. If the medical institute has been nonresponsive to your request or still has not given you a price you can afford, then there are medical billing advocates. The people know medical coding and will get your bill down and only request you pay them a percentage of what you had to pay the institute. Don’t hesitate to contact one of these if you are experiencing unusually large medical bills.

A lot of times all of this may seem intimidating. You may feel lost and feel like you need outside help. If you fear that medical bills are going to ruin your credit please contact us as soon as possible. We would rather assist you when things are early in the game instead of when the bill has been passed on to a debt collector. If you already have a medical bill on your credit report, it’s even more important to do a free credit analysis with us.

Don’t forget to check out one of our other articles related to debt collectors being licensed in your state.

Don’t make these mistakes when looking for the right credit repair agency!

credit-repair

There are more and more credit repair firms every day. There are some that are even getting sued! How can you pick one that properly assists you in getting a better score? How can you separate the wheat from the chafe? We have some advice on how to pick the best credit repair company.

The first thing you should do is to check your state’s division of consumer protection. Most states require that credit repair agencies be permitted in that state. If they are not permitted, they more than likely are not bonded either. If they are not bonded, they are not protected from actions taken against them by customers and with one small lawsuit could disappear overnight. Stick with an agency that is permitted and bonded in your state.

Another feature you should look for to find a legitimate credit repair company is to check if they are certified. Certification in any discipline shows that people have taken classes or exams in their field of discipline. One known certification is the Board Certified Credit Consultant. You can even go to the Boards site to check on their members to see if they have an A or F rating. This is not the only certification but it is highly recognized throughout the field.

Can they advise you on how to handle debt collectors? Debt Collectors are ruthless and constantly violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). They should be able to explain your rights to you and how to best interact with them to prevent further damage. Many of the well-known agencies don’t even touch this aspect in credit repair and we ask how could you not?

In addition, looking for a local credit repair agency that will meet with you in person if you so wish is another important feature. If they can’t meet with you in person, they should at least contact you every 45 days to discuss the action that happened on your last round of disputes. Another reason to pick a local credit repair agency is they will be more in sync with the local laws related to credit bureaus, creditors and debt collectors. Often in-state debt collectors can be more aggressive and a local credit repair agency will be affiliated with a local credit repair attorney if you do need one.

One of the first signs you picked the wrong group to work with is you will not receive notifications from the credit bureaus every 30 to 60 days. If they are disputing for you, they should have you turning over those notifications to them so they can judge their success on the last round. There is no such thing as fast credit repair, but if you are not receiving the reports from the bureaus then move on. Your credit repair specialist should make sure to discuss with you.

Other issues should be how did this company find you as a lead? Was it through a solid recommendation such as an affiliate that you both know? Or did you get hit by bulk e-mailing, or even worse a robocall that was aimed at your number for whatever reason? Avoid credit repair firms that utilize the unauthorized telemarketing and violate the Do Not Call Registry.

If you are looking for a local firm, pick one that cares about your long term financial strategy and one that has some type of financial coaching in place. Part of that should be the asking why you to want a better credit score and what your financial goals are. Most of you are repairing your credit for a big goal such as buying a new home or car. Find a firm that brings you to that goal!

If you have any questions on how we can help with your credit score, check out our Contact Page and send us a message! Also, check our article about the important parts of your credit score.