28 November 2012
This type of expense is difficult because you always want your family to get the best medical care, but with the cost of private medicine in South Africa, this can leave many with large debts over their heads.
The Risks of Not Paying Your Medical Bills
Even if you have medical aid, a brief stay in hospital or an illness or accident that requires outpatient tests and extended treatment can leave you with a mountain of medical debt to pay. If you have no health coverage, your medical bills can far exceed what you can ever afford to pay.
Making matters worse, a growing number of doctors and hospitals responding to their own economic pressures are getting tough on patients who don’t/can’t pay their medical bills. This is often outsourced to a debt collector who may get quite aggressive about collecting from you by using the legal process and summonses.
If you find that you are unable to pay the full amount owing on the statement, contact the doctors and try and make a payment arrangement and stick to that. Most doctors would prefer to have a small payment rather than nothing at all.
Taking Action to Reduce Your Medical Debt
Be sure that the bills are accurate. When you find errors, get them corrected and get your bills adjusted.
Make your insurance company pay for everything it should. If your bills are the result of an accident that someone else caused, get that person’s insurance company to pay as many of the bills as possible.
Negotiate with doctors upfront for discounts or amounts based on the maximums your medical aid will pay out per claim. Also some companies offer Gap Cover which will cover most or all or any amount not covered by your medical aid.
For further advice on medical debts please contact DebtBusters on 0869 99 06 06 or have a look at our website www.debtbusters.co.za.