When you’re struggling to pay bills because you had a major medical emergency and couldn’t work like usual, it can be extremely upsetting to see more bills come in the mail. This is particularly true when you don’t understand where the debts are coming from or who is sending you the debt.
That’s why it is important to verify your medical debt and to make sure each debt is correct. Medical billing errors do happen, so if you feel that the debts are excessive or that they have already been paid but keep being sent to you, you can look into validating those debts before looking into other options, like bankruptcy or debt consolidation.
You have a right to understand your medical bills
You can ask for a debt validation letter if you receive a notice from a creditor, but before that, you should go through a validation with the hospital or medical office.
First, gather up your bills. You can usually make an appointment with the financial officer to go over it, so do that next. When you go through the bill with them, make sure you have any amounts paid set aside, so you can verify which debts have been taken care of even if they’re showing as unpaid in the system.
By going through the bill and asking for itemization, you’ll be able to identify expenses that were double-billed or that didn’t make it to your insurance company yet, for example. You could end up saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars.
With debt collectors, you can send a debt validation letter. They are required, by law, to send you proof that you’re the debtor, a copy of the contract you signed, the exact amount owed and who you owe it to and the contact information for the original creditor. Getting this information can help you determine if this debt is really yours and give you a way to reach out to the original creditor if you think something is wrong.
After you do all this, you may still have more debt than you want or can handle. In that case, you’ll then be able to look into debt consolidation, debt negotiation or bankruptcy as possible solutions.