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Many bear the tremendous burden of medical debt

Despite your health insurance coverage, you are still grappling with unpaid medical bills. If you are like many in Tennessee, you took a second or even third job to try to pay down the debt. It hasn't helped.

No matter what you do, the debt keeps growing. A chronic illness, a medical emergency or an unexpected charge is all it takes to send your budget spiraling. You are not alone.

A nationwide crisis

Approximately 40 percent of people in this country carry significant medical debt. You may be among the many who feel they must skip appointments, refuse treatments or go without medication because they already owe too much.

The largest percentage of people under financial burden attribute their debt to medical expenses. Student loans and credit card debt follow behind; however, you may be using your credit cards to pay off medical bills, as are countless in your situation.

Unpleasant surprises on your bill

A survey showed that 63 percent of those who received a medical bill found an unexpected charge. Nearly half of those were billing errors, but others were for surprise expenses.

For example, maybe the doctor who did your tests or surgery was in your insurance network, but the lab or the anesthesiologist was not. Your bill may show a charge for thousands of dollars that you had not anticipated.

Doing battle with the debt

Ignoring the bills will not make them go away. Instead, take a step-by-step approaching to bringing them to a manageable level.

  1. Study each bill carefully. Look for mistakes, duplicate charges and charges you do not understand or recognize.
  2. Don't be afraid to call your provider or insurance company to ask for explanations for anything unusual on your bill. Chances are good that you have found a money-saving mistake.
  3. Ask your provider to negotiate your bill. You may need to make several calls up the chain of command, but the results may pleasantly surprise you. If nothing else, they may work out a payment plan for you.
  4. Ask your provider if there are programs for financial assistance. If you qualify, part or all of your bill may be paid by a generous charitable organization.

If these steps do not provide the help you need, consider contacting an attorney. Your attorney will carefully examine your documentation and help you determine what course of action is best for your situation.

Simply consulting with an attorney does not obligate you to file for bankruptcy. However, you may realize that taking this action could benefit you. By filing for bankruptcy, you may see much of your debt eliminated or reduced to a manageable level that will allow you to begin rebuilding your credit rating that was damaged by delinquent accounts. You will soon be on your way to making a fresh financial start.

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

Toll Free: 888-376-0282
Phone: 423-933-1606
Fax: 423-877-0363
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