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Tips for avoiding medical debt

Sure, you might have survived the illness, and your medical condition is resolved, but if you have acquired extensive medical debt in the process, it can be crippling for other areas of your life. This is why, before you have a medical procedure or treatment plan carried out, you might want to do a little bit of financial planning.

First, review your financial circumstances. Try to figure out how much you can afford monthly to set aside for paying your medical bills. This will allow you to make a monthly budget, cut certain expenses and determine what assets you could liquidate if needed to cover medical bills without going into debt.

Second, create a special file where you will put information concerning your doctors' visits, treatments and services. This will help you keep track of bills for tax purposes and budgeting purposes. If you don't have this information in place, it can be very easy to lose track of.

Third, use technology to your advantage. There are a lot of free personal health record programs on the internet, like Microsoft HealthVault. These online applications give you access to all your medical records via a smartphone, so they will never get lost or accidentally destroyed.

Fourth, study your bills like a hawk. It is extremely common for medical providers to overcharge patients. By looking at your bills, you can identify itemized costs for services, treatments and medications that you never received. You can then contact the medical provider and have them removed.

There is a lot more that Ohio residents can do to sidestep getting into medical debt, but sometimes doctors' bills and hospital bills are unavoidable and they can financially cripple you. If you are currently unable to make financial ends meet because of medical debt that you will never pay off, bankruptcy proceedings might be for you.

Source:, "13 Steps to Avoid Medical Debt: Dealing With the Costs of Cancer," Jan. 17, 2016

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