Bankruptcy DocumentsIf you’re a senior citizen and your medical bills are beginning to pile up, you’re not alone. The high cost of medications and care have led to over 25 percent of Americans struggling to pay off medical debts, with 40 percent of those facing medical debt hearing from debt collectors. The idea of struggling financially because of a medical problem feels remarkably unfair, especially if you have worked hard and been financially prudent your whole life and had been looking forward to retirement. Medical debt forces so many seniors to consider filing for bankruptcy that it’s led to a new term being coined — gray bankruptcy. The good news is that bankruptcy may not be necessary for you.

There are several things you can do to avoid having to turn to a bankruptcy filing over medical debt. These include:

  • Make sure you understand your health insurance and what Medicare provides. Though these policies may seem overwhelming, taking the time to understand what they provide can help you make smart choices about what treatments you choose, which providers you go to, and what kinds of conversations you should be having with your physician.
  • Understand your rights when it comes to medical debt. Knowing the law will allow you to take control of the situation when bill collectors call. It can also help you get the medical care you need regardless of your financial situation. The most important thing for you to know is that medical debt does not appear on your credit report.
  • Having long-term care insurance can help reduce your costs.
  • Always remember to talk to your physicians and care providers about the treatments you’re receiving. If you let them know that you are facing financial difficulties, they may be able to switch to a lower-cost alternative for your medication or provide a less costly procedure. Many physicians and hospitals will also set you up on a no-interest payment plan to make your bills more manageable. Your pharmacist and your insurer can also provide you with valuable cost-saving information.
  • Take the time to review your medical bills. Many people have found errors, duplications and other mistakes. Hospitals are also often willing to negotiate on some pricing.

The more information you have, the better you will be able to manage your medical debt and your financial situation. To learn more about all of your options, contact our office to set up an appointment.

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