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How to Cope with Mounting Medical Expenses

The cost of medical treatment nowadays can be incredibly overwhelming. Having a huge financial burden can increase stress levels and cause some people to make the wrong decisions when it comes to footing the bill. If you are worried about how you are going to pay, here are some of your options when it comes to how to cope with mounting medical expenses.

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Don’t Ignore the Bills

It can be all too easy to bury your head in the sand; however, this will not make the bills disappear. In many instances, it can make the situation much worse. Doctors and medical providers will only collect outstanding fees for a couple of months before they send your paperwork over to a debt collector. If this happens, your medical bill will be included on your credit report, which can have a damaging impact should you want to borrow money in the future. There is also a chance that you could be sued for the debt, so it’s important, to be honest, and open about your situation. If you have a surprise medical bill, it’s best to act as quickly as possible.

Read Through Your Mail

When the mail is delivered, you should take the time to read through any letters to make sure you know what your balance actually is. In some situations, the health insurance company provides an explanation of benefits which outlines what has been paid on your behalf. The explanation of benefits can be incredibly useful and notify you of any medical bills that are coming your way.

Check If You’re Covered

Medical billing can be incredibly complicated, and mistakes often occur. Therefore, ensure your doctor’s office has billed the correct insurance company for the services that were provided. That way, you can find out why the bill was not paid. Checking if you’re covered by insurance can make a huge difference in clearing up mistakes as well as saving you tons of money.

Negotiate

What you may not realize is that medical service providers have various pricing structures in place. For example, if you have been charged $1,000 for a couple of bandages, you will be able to make a complaint about it. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, make sure to call the provider up and address your concerns. Being able to negotiate can bring the cost down and help ensure that you’re paying for the treatment you received. If you don’t feel comfortable with negotiating, there are various companies that can do all the hard work for you.

Pay the Bill Off

If you have small medical bills, you may be able to pay them off in a lump-sum, however, you can only do this if you have the money available in an emergency fund or a savings account. Simply write out a check and send it to the billing address that is listed in your letter. Ensure you write the correct account number on the check to avoid being billed more than once. If you can’t pay the full balance, make sure to contact the doctor’s office before your debt is sent over to a collection agency.

Payment Arrangements

Making a payment arrangement can take the weight off your shoulders and help you gain control of your mounting medical expenses. Once you contact your doctor’s office, this can let the billing department know that you are not ignoring the bill. If you are responsible for making the payment, you can set up a payment plan that suits your budget, enabling you to pay off any outstanding fees without worrying about how you are going to afford them. As long as you have the money in your bank account each month to pay the bill, there should be no problems.

Child Medical Bills

If your child has had medical treatment, you should not ignore the bills from your child’s doctor. When you were signing the forms, you will have made an agreement that you are solely responsible for paying the bill for your child’s medical care. If you ignore mounting bills, it can damage your credit just like it would if the medical bill was for yourself.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a health insurance company that specializes in providing help and support for residents with a low-income. If you are unable to afford your medical expenses, be sure to contact your local state Medicaid office today to check whether you’re eligible. The qualification criteria can vary state by state so while you may qualify in one state, you might not in another. If you are successful, you can use Medicaid to foot the bill for medical expenses that you have already incurred. However, there is a time frame that you need to adhere to so it’s best to apply sooner rather than later.

Use a Credit Card

While it’s not the best route to go down, you may not have a choice but to use a credit card to pay your medical expenses. If you have tried every option possible with no success, using a credit card can help you avoid having to deal with a collection agency. When finding a credit card, you should have a look at their interest rates and available credit among other features.

Take Out a Loan

Instead of using a credit card, you may want to take out a loan. For example, Bonsai Finance provides pension loans which can give you financial flexibility and help cover the cost of mounting medical bills. Pension loans are received in the form of a lump sum payment which can be used for unexpected expenses and help you to clear your debt. Be sure to visit their website today where you can find out more information about how these could affect your pension in later life.

If your medical expenses are increasing and you aren’t sure where to turn, there are many routes that you can go down to nip the problem in the bud. Whether it be negotiating to get the cost down or sorting out a payment plan that suits you, you should do your research before you make any final decisions. Gaining control of your medical expenses can reduce the risk of you having to file for bankruptcy so you really don’t want to ignore them.

A Personal Story of Struggle and Triumph over Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a devastating and aggressive form of cancer. It is most often caused by exposure to asbestos, a harmful natural mineral that was used for decades in a variety of applications. Getting a diagnosis of this type of cancer can feel like your world is ending; the prognosis is rarely good. There are hopeful stories, though, like that of Katherine Keys who was diagnosed with mesothelioma ten years ago and today is thriving and telling her story to give others hope.

Flu-Like Symptoms
Her story began when Katherine was 49 years old. She started to feel some persistent symptoms, like difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, a frequent cough, and chest pains. She thought she must have some type of respiratory infection, like the flu. But the symptoms just wouldn’t go away, and eventually she went to the emergency room where she ultimately got the diagnosis of stage I mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that attacks the mesothelium, the tissue lining the inside of the body and most organs. Katherine was diagnosed with the most common form of the disease, which affects the pleura, the part of the mesothelium that surrounds the lungs in the chest cavity. This is why her symptoms resembled those of an upper respiratory infection.

Katherine was luckier than most people with mesothelioma in that she got her diagnosis in stage I of the disease. Because the symptoms are so similar to more common illnesses, and because the cancer has a long latency period, many people never get an accurate diagnosis of mesothelioma until it is already advanced to a later stage. This makes it much more difficult to treat. Katherine, at stage I, still did not get a good prognosis from her doctors, but her early staging gave her hope that she could fight the cancer and possibly win.

Ready for a Fight
Determined to give the fight her all, Katherine realized she needed an ally and turned to MesotheliomaLaywerCenter.org. Here, victims of asbestos exposure and those who have received a mesothelioma diagnosis can find the support and guidance needed to fight back. The site provides resources to help inform patients about everything related to mesothelioma. It also provides access to medical experts who can provide the best treatment and legal experts who can provide services to help patients fight for compensation through settlements and asbestos trust funds.

With guidance from MesotheliomaLawyerCenter.org and access to medical teams that could provide her with the most advanced treatments, Katherine chose to go with the most aggressive attack against her cancer. She chose to undergo a very radical type of surgery that is risky and only performed by experienced surgeons. Called an extrapleural pneumonectomy, this surgery involves opening the chest cavity and removing one entire lung, all of the pleura surrounding that lung, part of the diaphragm, and even some of the lymph nodes. This extensive surgery is the best chance a mesothelioma patient has of achieving remission and Katherine was prepared to take the risks and hope for the best outcome.

After the surgery, Katherine had to face life with just one lung, but her treatment wasn’t over yet. To reduce the risk of the cancer recurring, she received radiation therapy five times a week for several months. Although she had also been scheduled to receive chemotherapy, the success of surgery and radiation mean she could avoid that treatment.

Recovery and Remission
Recovery from this aggressive line of treatment took Katherine months, and even after a year she still had limitations. In fact, she will always live with some physical limitations because she has only one lung. After her treatment Katherine’s doctors could not find any signs of cancer, but there was still a possibility of recurrence. Every month for several months she had to undergo blood tests, X-rays, PET scans, and other tests to confirm that the cancer had not come back.

Those check-ups were eventually reduced to every two months, three months, six months, and then once a year. The cancer never came back. After one year Katherine was thrilled to be cancer-free. Ten years later, she celebrates life like never before because she is still cancer-free.

Katherine beat mesothelioma, not something that many people can say. She credits her survival to her own hope and optimism, her amazing medical team, the love and support of her family, and the resources she received from MesotheliomaLawyerCenter.org. Now, as a mesothelioma survivor, Katherine relishes having time with her family, but she also loves telling her story and bringing hope to other people who are going through the same struggle.

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