Even Florida consumers with health insurance often struggle with medical debt. Unfortunately, insurance coverage only goes so far. So, after extensive treatments and hospitals stays, Florida patients are frequently left with expensive bills. To make matters worse, these bills are not always accurate. Often, consumers in Florida end up with unpaid medical debt that they may not even owe in debt collections. This hurts their credit scores, and their finances suffer if they end up paying inaccurate debt just to make the debt collectors go away.
Luckily, Florida consumers can keep medical debt in check if they take control right from the start.
A Plan for Florida Consumers Who Want to Take Charge of Medical Debt Before It Causes Long-Term Problems
In order to prevent medical debt from spiraling out of control, Florida patients (with help from their families) should keep tabs on everything right after treatment. Luckily, new credit reporting rules launched in September of 2017 keep medical debt off credit reports until it is six months old. This gives Florida residents more time to settle disputed charges and insurance companies more time to pay. However, consumers should still act quickly to avoid medical debt collectors, credit score problems, and financial issues.
Take the time to carefully review medical bills.
If anything on your bills looks unfamiliar, double check the dates to verify that you had treatments on those days. Florida patients who undergo complicated procedures should also ask for itemized statements. Finally, if you have questions about charges, don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider and ask.
Keep all documents well-organized.
Keep all medical bills, insurance notifications and payments, and communications from your healthcare provider in one place. Make sure that all of these documents are accessible if you need to dispute anything. Then, make copies of relevant documents to send with your dispute letters instead of sending the originals.
Check in with medical insurance provider to verify accuracy of information.
Too many Florida consumers end up with unnecessarily large medical bills because of insurance mix-ups. Sadly, all it takes is one small error in your information to create expensive billing mistakes later on. So, call your provider and verify that all of the information they have for you is accurate and up-to-date.
Pay or dispute bills as quickly as possible.
If you can, pay valid medical bills sooner as opposed to later. On the other hand, Florida patients who must dispute false charges before moving forward should also act quickly. It is never a good idea to put off actions pertaining to medical debt because even small problems become big issues if neglected.
If necessary, negotiate with healthcare providers.
Florida patients who know they will struggle to pay valid medical bills should try negotiation first. Believe it or not, most healthcare providers are willing to work with patients who are honest and upfront about their situations. For example, you may get a price break if you agree to pay the entire bill upfront. Or, the provider may offer an interest-free installment plan if you take the time to ask for help.
Ask about financial assistance.
Florida consumers who need extra help with expensive medical bills should inquire about financial assistance programs. Many Florida hospitals and clinics offer such programs, but many of them are time-sensitive. So, in order not to disqualify yourself, apply as soon as you know you need assistance.
Bonus Tip: Avoid paying medical bills with credit cards if you cannot pay the cards off immediately.
A lot of Florida consumers tackle expensive medical debt by paying bills with credit cards. Of course, this is far better than not paying at all. However, unless you can pay off the balance right away, you might face heavy interest charges from the credit card issuer. Also, once you convert medical debt into a credit card charge, it looks like regular debt to future lenders and creditors. This, unfortunately, could hurt your approval chances if you need to apply for a loan or new credit card in the near future.
Why Florida Consumers Dealing with Medical Debt Should Check their Credit Reports
Under the new credit reporting rule, medical debt should stay off Florida credit reports until it is at least six months old, but this doesn’t mean that mistakes won’t happen. Sadly, the credit bureaus don’t have a great track record when it comes to responsibly handling consumer information. They frequently make mistakes, and many of these errors result in credit report inaccuracies that bring down credit scores.
Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) entitles consumer in Florida and other states to accurate credit reports. Then, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) allows you to request free credit reports from each of the major credit bureaus every 12 months. So, just go to www.annualcreditreport.com, and request credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
If, while reviewing your credit reports, you see mistakes with medical debt or any other types of errors, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Florida. The credit pros at our firm understand credit report issues better than anyone. And, when you call us or fill out the convenient form on our website, an experienced credit attorney will do whatever it takes to get you clean credit reports – for free.
How to Get Free, Legal Credit Repair in Florida
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (813) 940-7255 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/florida/credit-repair/.