Let’s face it. No one wants to think about medical bill payment plans due to the overwhelming number of bills that come in and the fear of making a mistake and getting further behind. However, establishing a plan to ensure that you pay your bills on time can help you maintain your credit score and avoid penalties for being overdue. Here are five things you should know before starting your medical bill payment plan.
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1. Know the Fines for Being Late or Missing a Payment
Many creditors will charge a late fee if you are late on a payment, so it is important to understand exactly how much the penalty might be and what steps you need to take to avoid it. Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away. You will have to deal with creditors directly to figure out a payment plan that works for you and your financial situation.
If you contact the creditor and work out a payment plan, they might waive this fee or reduce it. You can find out how much their late fees are by looking at your statement or calling the customer service number listed on your bill.
2. Know How Much You Owe, Who To, and When You Need to Start Paying
Take time each month to look into what bills are due and know exactly how much you need to pay. Remember that each medical biller will have their payment due dates, so be sure to check with each one individually. Be organized and take your time to write out a calendar of what bills are due, when, and how much you owe on top of that. You may not want to look at it during this time, but it will be important to have all of this information when you are ready to set up a payment plan.
3. Choose the Best Payment Method
There are several options for arranging your medical bill payments. You can pay them all at once, pay over time, or even see if you qualify for charity care where the hospital or doctor will let you pay off your medical bills over time as long as you meet certain qualifications. The best method for you depends on the total debt you owe and how much money is available to pay it down each month. Please talk with your creditors and medical billers about what options are available and which may be best for you to work out a payment plan. To make sure you are getting the best patient medical financing, you can seek help from professional healthcare financing providers in your area.
4. Know What You can do if You Fall Behind on a Payment
If, for some reason, the best payment method doesn’t work out for you, know what your options are in case you fail to make one of your payments. Creditors will work with you so long as they know when and how much is due to each billing cycle. If you are running into problems, let the creditor know as soon as possible what is going on to avoid having your account turned over to a debt collector. Your creditor has different options for proceeding if you haven’t made a payment in sixty days.
Your creditor may be flexible about how you pay your bill, which is why it’s important to let them know ahead of time when you are having problems meeting the minimum amount due. They could help you with ideas on different payment methods, ask for an agreed-upon amount shortly, or change your due date to make things easier. They could also waive any late fees, interest charges, or other fees associated with your account that you may have incurred while it sat past due.
5. Know by How Much the Plan Will Reduce the Bills
Every time you pay something towards your medical bills, it will help decrease the total amount that you owe. Take that into consideration each time you agree to a medical bill payment plan and how it will help reduce your overall debt. If you can’t afford to pay much at once, take the smaller payments and pay them consistently over some time rather than one large lump sum, so there is less risk of not being able to make the payment.
Remember that each creditor may have different policies for medical bill repayment, so be sure to ask about what they offer and how you can take advantage of them to get back on your feet with your bills. You can’t avoid medical debt forever, but taking control now will help you keep moving forward financially instead of waiting for the worst to happen.