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Medical debt mistakes could lead to bankruptcy

Medical debt is one of the top reasons that people file for bankruptcy. It's hard to plan for an illness or an accident, medical care is incredibly expensive and many people find themselves facing insurmountable debt.

Part of the reason for that, though, could be medical debt mistakes that they make along the way. Three mistakes to avoid include:

Not checking the itemized report. When you get the bill, it's going to tell you the total. A lot of people just flip to the end, read that total and then assume they have to pay everything. However, medical billing divisions do make mistakes. A lot of different people are involved in the process. Looking at the itemized list sometimes helps people find things they should not have been included or overcharges, and the bill can be altered.

Not shopping for affordable care. Don't assume there's only one place to get medical care. Yes, it may feel overwhelming. Shopping around may be impossible in an emergency, but different care options and medical centers offer different prices. Shopping around, like you would for a car or a new house, can help.

Not asking about other payment options. You may not have to pay that full bill all at once. For instance, some medical centers will allow you to use a payment plan. Others will work with you to settle the debt for less than the total if it's clear you'll never be able to pay that total. Just be sure you know your options.

One of those options could be bankruptcy. If you're considering it, take the time to look into all of the legal steps you'll need to take and how to get started.

Source: USA Today, "3 medical debt mistakes to avoid," Sean Pyles, accessed Jan. 05, 2018

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