Are your medical bills more than you can currently afford? Would you like to get an interest-free loan to help pay off your medical bills?
You may not realize it, but you likely already have an interest-free loan with your medical provider. Hospitals and doctors typically do not charge interest on unpaid medical bills. As long as you keep making payments every month toward those bills, you can repay them interest-free. No finance charges are assessed, and you can take your time repaying these as long as you keep sending them enough each month.
How Much Must you Send?
While every medical provider has their own rules, a good rule of thumb is to send at least 2% of the initial balance each month. Of course, you never want to send less than $10-15, since that does not show good faith. A $7,000 bill can be paid off in 50 installments of $140.
For larger debts, it may be possible to keep the provider happy even with a lesser payment. Supposing you owe a hospital $40,000 for a major surgery, you may not be able to afford $800 a month. A much lower payment may still be enough to keep the account in good standing and free from interest.
If you can afford to send 2% of the initial balance each month, then you can probably repay the debt without any problem. If you cannot afford to send that much, then you may want to request special consideration for a hardship repayment plan. Some billers may allow a lesser amount if you meet certain qualifications. Hospitals also provide financial aid counselors who can help you find a way to at least partially repay your debt.
What Happens if you Do Not Pay?
Failure to make regular payments may cause your accounts to be charged off as bad debts. These are typically sold to third party collection agencies who will begin assessing interest on the account. Interest charges are typically levied at the maximum rate allowed by state law.
Once an account is sold to a debt collector, it shows up as a bad debt on your credit report. This can sink your credit rating, making future purchases on credit more difficult and more expensive.
If your medical bills are assigned to debt collectors due to nonpayment, then getting a loan to pay these off is typically the last thing you would want to consider. By doing this, you reset the statute of limitations on the debt, thereby extending the window of opportunity that the agent may pursue legal action against you. Also, understand that it is difficult to pay off debt by obtaining more debt.
You can get help with medical bills by contacting charities that specialize in this area. Also consider utilizing free healthcare clinics which provide services to lower income families.
Long is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Industrial Relations. He subsequently received his Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His Certificate in Financial Planning was issued by Florida State University.
Long has achieved the Accredited Credit Counselor and Accredited Financial Counselor certifications through the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education. Long originally achieved the Certified Credit Counselor designation through the National Institute for Financial Education.
In addition to years of nonprofit leadership, Long has been an innovator in the field of volunteer tax return preparation programs. He assists volunteer associations and nonprofit organizations who seek to integrate credit counseling and asset-building programs with free personal income tax preparation. His approach to using free credit reports as both an incentive and a screening tool for placement into asset-building programs has been shared with members of the National Community Tax Coalition, the EITC-Carolinas Initiative of MDC, Inc. and nonprofit groups across the Carolinas.
Long assists members of our armed forces in the Carolinas, Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia and Germany with financial readiness. Please support our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors!
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."