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Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Be Aware of “ObamaCare” Scams

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

With the recent passage of the health care reform overhaul package there has been a lot of passion on both sides of the issue. At the same time, there has been a lot of confusion among consumers about exactly how the plan will work and when it would be implemented. Sadly, confusion is the single best friend of a scammer. Scam artists have now started using the historic health care reform and the confusion among consumers as a way to make big money. States have now been alerting consumersof the fraud that is occurring on a regular basis.

The term “Obamacare” has been used quite often to describe the health care reform package, even though there is no such program. Many of the scam artists have started using “Obamacare” as their keyword to get people to pay attention. Some have started calling consumers and telling them they must sign up for the health care and pay a one-time fee. Others have gone as low as telling consumers they need to purchase a special insurance package to avoid death panels. It really is disgusting the way scam artists work, but it is just the reality of how things are.

As is usually the case, those who are most vulnerable are being targeted first. The senior citizens around the country are being contacted and are falling for these scams in fairly large numbers. Consider this your warning to not listen to anyone who promises to help you with the transition in the health care reform. They are only looking for money from you, and there is absolutely no way they can help you. As the law takes effect in the country, it will be available to everyone at the same time. Alert your loved ones, especially the elderly, that these scam artists are on the run right now and looking to take advantage of them.

How to Manage Unpaid Hospital Bills?

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Are you overwhelmed by the medical debt you have accumulated? If so, you are not alone. Many people find themselves unable to pay hefty hospital bills. Unfortunately, medical debt can affect your credit history especially if the hospital decides to refer your case to a collection agency.

How can you manage unpaid hospital bills?

First, get a clear idea of how much you owe. This should be easy. Just ask someone from the hospitals billing department to send you a detailed bill of the services you have received and the cost of service. Details such as cost of tests, scans, and doctor’s fees should also be included in the itemized bill. Once you receive the detailed bill, verify it and make sure it is correct.

Next, think about a plan that would allow you to repay the outstanding amount without getting you in a financial bind. The best thing to do would be to try and negotiate a plan with the hospital. Explain your financial situation to them and work out a plan that permits you to pay off your debt in installments. Remember to be honest and practical about the amount you can pay each month. Ask the concerned authorities about any late fees or miscellaneous you will have to pay so that it does not come as a surprise.

Once you have worked out a plan, try and pay your installments on time. You can either pay in person or by check or online.

Demand that the hospital provides you a receipt for every payment you make. Keep the receipts safely so that you have ample proof that the bills have been paid. You can also ask the hospital to give you a statement mentioning that your bills have been cleared.

If you cannot afford to pay in installments, try and seek help from charities. Several charities are willing to help those who genuinely require financial aid with their hospital bills. Search the internet for charities which offer financial help with medical bills. Medical Billing Advocates of America is one such charity. There are several others which you can approach.

Some people choose to declare bankruptcy in their efforts to get relief from hospital bills. Try your best not to do this. Bankruptcy is sure to be on your credit record for a long time and this will not create a good impression with those who run a background check on you. For instance, you may need to get one done while looking for a job.

Similarly, mortgaging your house or paying off your hospital bills with your credit card is not a good idea. You will have to pay interest while repaying the debt. Medical bills do not charge interest so by choosing to pay it though mortgage or credit card; you will be spending money unnecessarily. Moreover, you will be paying an even bigger amount than you would if you negotiated with the hospital directly. Also you will be putting your home or property at risk.

Debt collection agencies are another hassle you will have to deal with if you have unpaid hospital bills. You can ask debt collectors to verify your debt before they contact you so that you get some time to arrange for payment. You can also request them not to contact you while you work out a suitable medical debt repayment plan.

Clearing medical debt requires a good deal of patience and negotiation from your side and from the hospital authorities. You can work out a plan together that works fine for both parties.

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