With today's cost of healthcare, any type of accident or illness can leave you in medical debt. Is there anything you can do about it, or do you have to accept the bill? Here's what you should do.
Verify the Debt is Yours
Identity theft happens even with medical debt. The first thing you should do with any bill is to make sure it's yours. If you just went to the hospital for a broken leg and get a bill in your name with related charges, you probably don't have any identity theft concerns. However, if you don't recognize what a bill is for or if it is for something that happened a long time ago, you should probably ask questions before paying it.
If you need to verify a debt, send a certified letter to the medical office or collection agency requesting proof of the debt. If the debt doesn't belong to you, you have the right to not pay and not have it on your credit report.
Request an Itemized Bill
Medical bills often go down when you request an itemized bill. The provider may not have kept good records to support all of the charges or may realize they added something they shouldn't have. As with any bill, go through the charges to make sure you received everything listed. Call the provider if you didn't.
If your provider refuses to adjust your bill, you have several options. If they are part of a larger group, you can often complain to someone more senior. If that doesn't work, you may need to get the debt removed from your credit report. A medical debt lawyer can help you force the provider to provide appropriate proof or remove the charge from your credit report. You may also have the right to compensation for inaccurate credit reporting.
Verify What Insurance Pays
If you get a medical bill, make sure it wasn't paid by insurance or shouldn't have been paid by insurance. Many states also have laws that providers can't bill you for the balance if the insurance company doesn't pay their full rate.
If you should not have been billed because of insurance, this gives you another defense to your medical debt. You may also be entitled to damages if it went on your credit report improperly and caused you financial harm.
To learn more about how to challenge a medical debt, contact a local medical debt lawyer today, like those at Havner Law Firm.