Coping with Medical Debt as a Senior Citizen
Medical expenses are a major source of debt for people of all ages, but especially for senior citizens who, on average, require more extensive and costly medical treatments. Even people who have health insurance can fall into medical debt, whether it's from a single operation or from the need to regularly purchase an array of medications.
For many seniors, the prospect of struggling with medical debt during what should be a secure and peaceful time in their life is extremely stressful.
Overall strong financial management. Even as you deal with medical debt, make sure there aren't other issues with your finances that are leading to an unnecessary loss of money, whether it's an unfortunate investment decision or a mismanagement of your assets by someone you trust to help you handle your affairs.
Try to negotiate your medical bill. Sometimes, there's the possibility of speaking with hospital or clinic administrators about repaying a larger bill in smaller chunks or even getting a lower rate on a given procedure altogether.
Check what forms of financial assistance you qualify for. Maybe the hospital or clinic offers different rates for procedures, or forgiveness for unpaid bills, depending on whether you meet certain age and financial requirements. At other times you make get assistance from the government or from a charity.
Check if there are mistakes in the bill. Occasionally, you come across news stories of people who were mistakenly handed bills with a few extra misplaced zeroes. But even if the mistake doesn't amount to thousands of dollars, it's worth catching. Don't hesitate to clarify any confusing issues about your bill with your doctor or hospital administrator.
Filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy may provide the best and most affordable option. Bankruptcy is a quick process in which your debts will be discharged. Bankruptcy exemptions will allow you to keep your home, car and other assets. With the guidance and advocacy of experienced bankruptcy attorneys, you'll be able to come up with solutions that work best for your particular situation.