If you are worried you can’t pay for healthcare, you aren’t alone. Nearly everyone is affected by medical debt: even those with insurance can struggle to pay medical bills, and every year as many as 1 in 5 Americans have trouble covering their healthcare expenses. it is the most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States, even more so than consumer debt.
Whether or not you already have health insurance, there are resources available to help you make ends meet, and get the medical treatment you and your family need. The following information can help you deal with everything from debt collectors, to gaps in insurance coverage, and even how to negotiate bills with the hospital.
Medicine is full of jargon, and unfortunately that extends to the billing, insurance, and other financial elements of healthcare. We have put this glossary together to help you understand the most common terms and topics you’ll have to deal with when navigating hospital bills and medical debt.
Even if you have insurance or can afford to see the doctor, medical billing can still be confusing and frustrating. Having insurance doesn’t necessarily make healthcare more affordable, but there are still ways you can pay your bills and work out more reasonable payments plans that accommodate your financial situation. The following resources offer some actionable tips and insights to help you take care of hospital bills, and pay for the care you need.
Regardless of whether you have health insurance, outstanding medical debt, or simply need a little help to get your finances back on track, you have options. The following resources outline where you can go for help with some of the most common challenges related to affording healthcare or managing medical debt.
Healthcare debt may be common, but having outstanding bills and debt doesn’t mean you have no rights. There are strict rules about the consequences for having medical debt, as well as regulations governing collections agencies, and protections for you as a patient and as a consumer. The following resources can help you make sense of what collectors can and can’t do, and what you can do to protect and advocate for yourself when you have medical debt.
If you are active or former military, or the family of someone with a service record, the healthcare system can work a little differently for you. You may be navigating both the Veterans Administration and regular hospitals, and dealing with both federal benefits and private insurance. There are additional resources and assistance programs just for you, which we’ve outlined below.
Despite persistent rumors, the salaries of doctors and other healthcare providers are not the main driver of healthcare costs. Medical school can be exorbitantly expensive, and physicians, nurses, dentists, and other providers often have significant student debt even after years of working. If you want to learn what it is really like to become a provider, or are interested in some of the myths about provider pay and healthcare costs, the following articles should shine some light on the subject.