From unexpected illnesses or injuries to regular trips to the doctor, medical bills and copays happen. And depending on the care you require or the type of insurance you have, they can really add up – and put a drain on your budget.
Sure, no one likes paying medical bills. But like all important bills, they need to paid and managed. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:
- Carefully review your bills. When you receive a medical bill, be sure to verify the dates of service and the care provided, since billing mistakes can happen. If you don't recognize or are unsure of a charge, contact the medical provider right away.
- Set bill pay reminders. When you receive a bill, set a reminder to ensure you pay it on time. To make it even easier, schedule the bill payment in advance using online or mobile banking.
- Talk to your provider about a payment plan. If you've experienced a job loss or are having financial difficulty and can't afford the total amount due, be proactive and ask the provider to put you on a payment plan. Most providers will work with you. Also, if you miss a payment, contact the provider immediately.
- Never ignore your bills. It may come back to haunt you later, especially when it impacts your credit rating and your ability to borrow to reach a financial goal.
- Enroll in a Health Savings Account (HSA). To help employees manage the high cost of medical care, many companies offer HSAs. An HSA is a tax-advantaged account where you can have a portion of your pay set aside each pay period for medical expenses.
- Talk to your tax adviser. You may be able to claim medical expenses on your tax return if you itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Talk to your tax adviser about your unique situation.
- Stay in network. One way to lower your bills even before you receive them is to use providers that are in your health insurance network.
In short, taking care of your medical bills is a great way to maintain strong credit and promote good financial health.