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Managing medical debt starts with knowing your insurance coverage

There are a few ways to manage or avoid falling into medical debt. As a patient, knowing that your medical expenses could be thousands of dollars is stress you don't need. Many people in America struggle with medical debts; it's important for you to know some options that are open to you if you're in that group.

First, it's wise to understand your health insurance policy. Know who you can go to for medical treatment and how much you'll have to pay. Know your policy limits and make sure labs and services are covered on your plan. If you have time to research a procedure you have coming up in the future, it's important to price it out. Different medical facilities might charge different rates, so looking for the best price is key. If your insurance covers all but a few hundred dollars of a procedure, it's still worth looking to see if another facility costs less out of pocket.

Using one of the provider's preferred pharmacies is another way to save some money. Network pharmacies save you money by charging lower costs for certain drugs. Check around; sometimes even generic drugs cost different amounts at varying pharmacies.

Finally, remember to always check the validity of your bills. Sometimes patients are charged twice or are charged for the wrong items; it's a good idea to look over the bill and to make sure you understand what each charge is for. If you've done all these things and still need assistance, bankruptcy and debt negotiations may be options that you can speak with a legal professional about.

Source: Forbes, "7 Ways To Avoid Or Reduce Medical Debt," Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, Nov. 07, 2016

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