Medical debt – yup it is different, but only because of the way we look at it

The report says two-thirds of medical debt results from one-time or short-term medical care arising from an acute need, when people don’t have time – or the option – to shop around for lower-priced options. If you’re uninsured or if the provider isn’t in your insurance network, you can be hit with higher prices. And even in-network, prices can be vastly different in different facilities or even different departments of the same facility.

Shop around. That’s is the most naive statement we here about health care. The fact is people do not shop around for health care – at least based on price. If you are in network it’s quite irrelevant what the prices are as the fee is negotiated by your carrier.

Medical Debt Is Different, So Preserve Your Protections

Bosco said not to put medical bills ahead of other debts. “It’s a relatively low priority debt compared with rent, utilities, court judgment, criminal justice debt, auto loans or leases, child support, etc.,” she said. “Immediate needs like food, housing, utilities and transportation are higher priorities since those are just basic human needs. A court-ordered payment, such as a criminal justice debt or child support, must be paid to avoid the legal consequences that could follow if a person doesn’t pay.

“Medical debt is certainly important, but compared to these other debts it is not as urgent,” she added.

The above reasoning is carried to the extreme by many people – paying ones medical bills is not that important. Yes, medical debt is different. That’s why it’s so easy to accumulate even in low amounts.

And don’t worry that you won’t be able to get additional medical treatment because of unpaid bills. Bosco noted that federal law requires hospitals to provide patients with necessary emergency or labor and delivery services regardless of their ability to pay.

Source: Kiplinger.com

No health insurance? While not always true, it has been for several years, virtually everyone can obtain health insurance – many at very low cost.

Low-income Americans who missed signing up for 2022 Affordable Care Act coverage can now enroll in plans with $0 premiums through the federal exchange’s website.

Those with incomes less than 150% of the federal poverty level — $19,320 for an individual and $39,750 for a family of four — can select policies on healthcare.gov through a special enrollment period, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told CNN exclusively on Monday. Most people will be able to select plans with no premiums, while others may have to pay a few dollars.

What is the excuse for not having coverage for health care bills?

“Starting July 1, paid medical collection debt will no longer be included on consumer credit reports. In addition, the time period before unpaid medical collection debt would appear on a consumer’s report will be increased from 6 months to one year, offering consumers more time to address their debt with insurance and healthcare providers before it is reported.” Source: FOX Business

Why worry about your debt? But not paying debt does hurt others. Namely the health care provider to whom one owes money.

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