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Strategies to reduce medical bills and avoid raiding retirement

Seeking emergency medical care in Maryland could lead to financial ruin, especially if the patient lacks health insurance. A professor of health policy and management has called the health care marketplace irrational and warns consumers that price gouging has become the standard approach to business. He strives to inform people about their rights and teach people that they have options for negotiating prices or accessing financial assistance.

The professor advises people to shop around for medical care whenever possible. Prices vary, and lower prices do not influence the quality of care. Different institutions might charge anywhere between $44,000 and $500,000 for the same heart surgery procedure. In emergency situations, consumers do not necessarily have to sign financial forms prior to receiving care. People can place statements like "did not read" or "not comfortable signing form" in signature lines to prevent making a contractual commitment to paying whatever a hospital chooses to charge.

Patients might also succeed in negotiating a lower bill before they receive care of after. Some medical institutions might work with people and set up no-interest payment plans. People unable to pay for medical care might also ask about charity funds at hospitals. If they qualify for assistance, they could avoid large bills.

Medical bills now account for two-thirds of personal bankruptcies. Very often, people take money out of their retirement accounts to pay medical bills. As an alternative, one might choose to explore Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which could result in the discharge of medical bills. By analyzing income and debts, a lawyer may find that a client qualifies to file for bankruptcy. An attorney might fill out the court paperwork and resolve problems that might arise with creditors during the process.

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