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kaylee34

Medical bills - being proactive

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Hello again all! I have a few questions on medical bills and need some help. I'm truly clueless here. I've never had any 5 figure medical bills until now and I can't just whip out the cash to pay them. I want to be proactive here. My priorities are to keep any possible bad stuff off my reports and pay off what I owe as I can get it paid.

 

I've been having a lot of medical issues recently. My PCP sent me for a bunch of tests and an MRI to rule out a brain tumor. Well, turns out, I have one. Great. 😵

 

The bills are starting to come in and they're outrageous. Looking at the insurance statement of benefits (came in the mail last week), I owe the hospital Sentara almost $8,000 so far. A few specialists bills are in to the tune of almost $2000. Looking at surgery in March. The good news is that I'll be hitting my max out of pocket for the year at $12,400.00 so I'm not going to have to pay out any more than that. Yes, the insurance coverage sucks but it's all my employer offers and it's better than nothing I suppose. 

 

I will be out of work for 9-12 weeks for surgery and rehab. I have 23 days of PTO to use, enough in liquid savings to cover household bills for 2 months and pay the caregiver the anticipated 4 weeks I'll need one. So regular household bills and aftercare are covered. Anything that isn't already on auto pay is getting set up.

 

Questions, what to do about paying the medical bills?

Can I call and negotiate the bill?

Set up payment plans?

Should I just put it on a credit card? (this is possible but not an attractive option)

Take out a loan to pay it off? 

How would you handle this?

 

I've worked my butt off for excellent credit the last few years and don't want to ruin it. I know I'm probably worrying and being stupid. 😟

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30 minutes ago, kaylee34 said:

Can I call and negotiate the bill?

Unfortunately if an insurance plan is involved the amount billed is contractually obligated.  They cannot discount your portion it would be illegal rebating.

31 minutes ago, kaylee34 said:

Set up payment plans?

This is always an option and best set up prior to expenses if possible.

31 minutes ago, kaylee34 said:

Take out a loan to pay it off?

Also a good option as well.

31 minutes ago, kaylee34 said:

How would you handle this?

I would speak to providers about setting up a payment plan first as that would be interest free.  If that is not an option I would look at a loan next to pay off the obligation and a credit card last as the interest rate on those is almost doubt what a loan would be.

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I dont know if this is possible for your particular case, but I had a friend who was able to get a special kind of medicaid as a secondary insurance.  The income guidelines were different than the normal medicaid and it was specific to her medical condition (cancer) and the high costs associated with it.  Also I know that many drug companies for example will offer providing the medication free of charge but those options would have to be researched and it is not a simple process.  As for my friend, Medicaid covered the additional bills that my friend could not afford and retroactively too. 

Also read whychat guidelines first before doing anything.  There are healthcare resources that are listed there that might be helpful for your specific case. 

 

I dont know if taking out a loan to pay a medical bill would be a good idea because there is different protections for you while it is a medical collection.  You might be waiving some rights (such as HIPPA) so take your time and research these options.  I am still in the process of credit repair myself so my heart goes out to you. 

Most important is your health and I hope you are getting the care that you need. Wish you well.  

  

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Follow this guide to get yourself pro-actively protected against future problems from JDBs ( junk debt buyers) and to establish a baseline for further actions.

https://whychat.me/GUIDEBOOK.html

 

Check with your HRS services from your employer for any possible assistance or patient counseling.

 

The initial bills you are receiving may not be what you actually owe. Wait for your EOMBs from your insurance to see what was billed, WHAT WAS ALLOWED and what is showing as patient responsibility.

 

I do NOT suggest your doing anything right away to pay anyone anything other than applying for special financing.  You may be able to make payment arrangements with a medical service financing Co. like Care Credit that offers no interest financing the 1st 6 Months  and wouldn't interfere with your credit card use.

 

Wait until you are fully recuperated and have a clearer picture of what kind of further medical expenses you may have. Once you borrow from your credit cards your risks of hurting your credit would be greater than anything you would engender by delaying payments to your health care providers.

 

After you are fully recuperated and back to work you can figure out how to deal with any left over medical bills. It would be 6 Months from the date of medical service before they even appear on your reports.

 

 

 

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My previous post referred to "Care Credit". I MEANT  "MY CARE". This is a financing plan specifically for hospital and medical bills ONLY. mycarefinance.com

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Thank you everyone. Lots more to think about here. It's tough, my head is already swimming with medical info. I'm slowly reading through the Whychat's guidelines so I can be armed for the future just in case. Now that I'm not panicking so much, things aren't so scary. Knowing I don't have to worry about it for almost 5 months has really taken a load off my mind. 

 

I'm not eligible for Medicaid/medicare in any form and there's nothing available through my employer.

EOMB's are all in and matching up to the provider's bills as far as what I owe out of pocket. The MRI alone was $7963 including the contrast. I'm paying more than half of that out of pocket after deductions and insurance paid it's part. Outrageous but that's due to the annual deductible and max out of pocket. Once I hit that, I should be done. Estimated costs for surgery next month are over 250k and that doesn't include everything by a long shot.

Thankfully, all my providers so far are in network so I can't be balance billed. I'm triple checking this before I move forward with anything.

CareCredit is option accepted by the hospital. I intend to apply and see what kind of limit they'll offer. Mycarefinance isn't accepted by any of my providers so far. I may start looking for a loan or possibly using a card with a 0% purchase or BT offer. I suppose I am very fortunate in comparison to some in that I have options. 


I paid all the specialists so that just leaves the current hospital charges and what's coming next month. I'll let that go until after surgery then call them and see about a payment plan. For now, I'm going to follow whychat's excellent advice and not focus on it.

 

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Home with a bad new hairdo. Surgery was successful. 4 days in ICU + 6 more in hospital. Rehab next week. Plan in place for bills with no hit to finances, retirement funds or credit. Thank you creditboards and whychat. Will update.

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