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Options for managing medical debt in Tennessee

After dealing with a major injury or illness, the last thing someone in Tennessee wants to face is the hassle of medical bills. The cost for hospital stays, diagnostic tests, therapy and lab fees can add up quickly and leave a person facing a mountain of medical debt. Getting a handle on it from the beginning may prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

Advisers warn people not to pay their medical bills with credit cards. Doing so takes away a patient's ability to negotiate a lower price or keep pressure on the insurance company to pay. Similarly, mortgaging one's home to pay outstanding medical bills may make an already stressful situation even worse by putting one's home at risk for foreclosure.

To stay on top of medical bills, it is good advice to review one's bill as soon as it arrives, since errors are not uncommon. If the bill is not itemized, or if it is difficult to understand, the billing department at the medical facility can help clarify it. Some offices offer payment plans or debt programs, and they may even offer discounts for those who faithfully stick to repayment programs.

There are other programs people can investigate for help in paying medical bills. For example, the government offers medical assistance programs. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army or the United Way may also be good resources under certain conditions. One's own hospital may offer charity programs for debt repayment.

If all the efforts fail and the overwhelming medical debt cannot be handled, the next step people in Tennessee take may be contacting lawyers to discuss their options. One of those options may include Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which eliminates existing debt. This allows people to make fresh starts, free from the crushing burden of medical bills. Experienced attorneys can advise people on the best courses of action for their particular situations.

Source: ifcs.org, "You're Not Alone: How To Approach Paying Off Medical Debt", Cathy Crilley West, Accessed on July 17, 2016

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