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For many consumers, a personal bankruptcy stems from medical debt

Recent figures suggest that close to 33 percent of Americans are struggling with medical debt. In fact, well over half of all personal bankruptcy filings can be traced back to this type of debt. Even having health insurance isn't a guarantee that unpaid medical expenses won't be a burden to residents in California or anywhere else.

There are some pointers that may enable consumers to lower the balances on some of their hospital-issued statements. One of the easiest and effective measures is reviewing billing statements for errors. It is estimated that almost half of all bills have erroneous charges that can be corrected. Another step is to research what the going rate is for services or treatment received. There are web sites that can be consulted, which have posted the average rates for common procedures.

In addition to those web sites, another tip is to research what Medicare is typically paying for a given service or procedure. Once that rate is compared, it has been found that the bill received may be twice or more what the government pays for comparable services. At that point, the billing department can be contacted, and the negotiation process can be commenced. Many medical facilities are willing to work to reach an agreement; however, it may take an extended period of time.

Another idea is to work out a budget payment with the billing office. While this will not reduce the amount owed for the most part, it may make paying the bill less onerous. It is important to remember that, sometimes, none of these suggestions will actually help those who are simply overwhelmed with too much medical and other debt. California residents who find that they are burdened with unsustainable debt may wish to educate themselves concerning how a personal bankruptcy filing may help improve their financial health and well-being.

Source: wfmynews2.com, "Medical Debt: How To Manage It & Ways To Negotiate Your Bill", , July 16, 2014

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