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5 Tactics You Need to Know to Tackle Medical Debt | Freedom Debt Relief

We all want to repay our bills. But if times are especially tight and you just don't have the money, you should focus on current debts and consider forgoing repayment of old bills that are 7 to 10 years old, or even older. Each state has its own set of rules regarding outstanding debts. Some states don't allow a debt collector to collect a certain type of debt after a certain period of time; others limit the amount of time when a creditor can sue you over an old debt.

Either way, you should find out whether the statute of limitations has passed regarding an old debt you may owe. If it has passed, you can likely forgo repayment without worrying about financial, legal or credit consequences plaguing you. For more information about dealing with old debts, contact your state Attorney General or the consumer protection agency for help and advice regarding your state's statute of limitations on credit card debt. Bankruptcy should only be used as a last-ditch option to rid yourself of debt.

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But under extreme circumstances — as when you have no income or you have completely unmanageable credit card payments or medical bills — a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is appropriate to discharge credit card bills in their entirety. If you feel morally obligated to repay your debts, you can also look into Chapter 13, which reduces some of your credit card bills.

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Then you repay the remaining debt over a three- to-five year period. You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

5 Tactics You Need to Know to Tackle Medical Debt

Members can print free coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons. You are leaving AARP. Please return to AARP. Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive. In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails related to AARP volunteering.

Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free to search for ways to make a difference in your community at www. Javascript is not enabled. Negotiate for a lower interest rate Call your creditors to negotiate a lower interest rate. Use your tax refund check to pay down debt While it's tempting to splurge on a high-ticket item or go on vacation with that tax refund check, a smarter money move would be to pay down some, or all, of your debt.

Sell items for cash Put together a list of items that you could sell on eBay, Craigslist, or at a garage sale. Consider cashing in your life insurance Cashing in your life insurance may be a viable debt payoff strategy because it will give you a chance to pay down larger amounts of debt quickly. Make more money If you're very determined to pay off that debt within the year, you should look for ways to increase your income and use that extra money to pay off debt as quickly as possible. Do a credit card balance transfer Most of us typically tear up all those credit card balance transfers that arrive in our mailboxes.

Use a statute of limitations law to eliminate old debt Some people pay off old credit card debts — really old ones — even when they're no longer legally obligated to do so. File bankruptcy to discharge your credit card debts Bankruptcy should only be used as a last-ditch option to rid yourself of debt.

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Please don't show me this again for 90 days. Your email address is now confirmed. Did you know that one in four Americans currently struggles with medical debt? One of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act A.

Coping with Debt

Sometimes you can receive a costly medical bill even with insurance. Although most medical practices and hospitals will bill the insurer as a courtesy, it is still your responsibility to ensure the bill is received by your insurance company. This may require calling your insurer to make certain they will have everything needed to process the payment.

It is good practice to always examine the bill itself as well as the Explanation of Benefits an insurer sends to you. Then, if anything looks unfamiliar, reach out to the medical facility as well as the insurance company to ensure accuracy. And medical debt is hurting 43 million Americans where it hurts—with their credit.

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When faced with high medical bills, it may seem good to pay them off with a credit card; however, there are smart alternatives that offer better protections. Many medical facilities will allow for you to negotiate the final amount owed with no impact to your credit report. By offering to pay with a reasonable amount in a single payment—if you can afford to do so—can provide the most flexibility for a lower final amount.

However, if you need a payment plan, then many medical facilities will work with you to find a monthly amount you can afford.

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Some healthcare providers offer payment options, such as:. A medical bill can only impact your credit if the bill is sent to collections, which can result in a 50— point drop in your credit score. Finally, if you do max out your credit and have trouble paying the bills, this will impact you long-term as it can damage your credit score. From buying a new car to getting a new cell phone plan, credit is important for everyday needs. Having good, solid credit can ensure you have options when you need them, plus save you money in fees and interest.

Review your options carefully when deciding how to repay your medical debt.