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How consumers may reduce their health care costs

Many Americans, including New Jersey residents, have significant debt from medical costs not covered by insurance. These medical debts are one of the primary reasons that Americans file for bankruptcy. There are, however, a few precautions that a person can take to reduce or avoid these large debts altogether.

One option is to verify coverage prior to seeking treatment whenever possible. A health care provider that is not in the insurance company’s network will usually cost significantly more, and the insurance company may decline payment. Second, even a person who cannot afford traditional insurance may benefit from establishing a High Deductible Health Plan to medical cover emergencies.

Where possible, saving in advance as much as possible will prevent creating huge debts. Using an emergency fund to cover medical bills can eliminate hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars in late fees and interest fees. An easy way to reduce medical costs is to review bills prior to submitting payment to ensure that the company did not accidentally bill an incorrect amount. Once the bills are verified, the provider may be willing to negotiate the amounts owed. If not, they may be willing to establish a payment plan so that consumers can avoid paying on a credit card and incurring large interest payments.

Medical care is something that most people need at some point during their lives. The bills can be extremely expensive. Through research and preparation, many consumers may be able to reduce some of these costs. If the bills simply become overwhelming, there may be relief. An experienced New Jersey bankruptcy attorney may be able to help persons experiencing large medical debts review their available options.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “5 Ways to Avoid Medical Debt,” Ben Edwards, Feb. 28, 2013

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