How to Get Help Paying Medical Bills Debt

The high cost of health care can turn into insurmountable debt.

Whether you're behind on medical bills due to a catastrophic illness or the loss of a job, there are ways to find relief. Make sure all your bills are correct, and then ask about payment programs. If that doesn't work you can apply for government assistance or seek help from debt-relief organizations.

Step 1

Scrutinize hospital charges. Mistakes are made, and sometimes patients are overcharged for items or simply charged for the wrong services. Never just pay the bill. Always look it over carefully, and if the hospital only sent you a summary, ask for a copy of the full details of services rendered. Dispute any errors you find.

Step 2

Get medical bill claims assistance: If you have a very large and complicated bill to sort through, hire the help of a professional. A claims assistant professional, or CAP, can help you find errors in your bill, help you dispute charges and help get an insurance company to cover costs they are refusing to pay. The Alliance of Claims Assistant Professionals can assist you in finding a CAP near you. A CAP will charge for their services, but they can save you thousands on your bill.

Step 3

Inquire about hospital debt programs: Most hospitals have debt programs that can assist you in coming up with a plan to reduce your bill. Sometimes you can get your bill reduced by up to 25 percent just by asking for help. Most health organizations will work with you to come up with a plan for making payments that you can afford.

Step 4

Apply for government assistance. Many states and counties offer some help with medical-bills debt. Check with your state's social services department to find out if you are eligible.

Step 5

Connect with charities. If you have a certain illness or condition, and there is a nonprofit or charitable organization dedicated to it, you may be able to get help paying medical bill debt related to that illness. For instance, if you have cancer, you can find many such organizations on the National Cancer Institutes website where you can get information and financial assistance.

Step 6

Hire debt-relief agencies. There are many organizations that would love to help you with paying medical bills, but they will charge a fee. They try to help you reduce the amount you owe and set up payment plans that can get you out of debt. They will negotiate with the hospital or doctors to get a plan that you can live with.

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