After a serious health scare, it can be challenge enough waking up in the morning, much less thinking about how to keep medical debt off your credit score. But thinking about these things early means not needing to worry about it later, and a smoother recovery in the end.
Understand your bill and make regular, agreed-upon payments
Generally the first step to ensure that a medical disaster doesn’t affect your credit score is working with your hospital or doctor and insurance to make sure that you know what needs to be paid and you are able to meet monthly payments. Unlike bankruptcy proceedings, which will automatically be filed with credit institutions, medical debts will not usually be reported unless the hospital has to send them to collections because they haven’t been paid.
Know what insurance is and isn’t covering
Be sure that you know what insurance is and isn’t covering. Some people end up with a black spot on their credit score just because they assumed insurance was covering something that it didn’t in the end.
Work with your hospital to figure out what is manageable
If a bill is daunting or even impossible to pay in full, hospitals will generally work with you to figure out a payment plan that can work with your budget, or even be able to reduced your total fee to something more manageable. These hospital payment plans are usually even interest free, so you can spread the cost of the original bill out over a long time.
It’s okay to ask for help
Once you have your monthly bills figured out, pay them immediately. Again, these bills will not be recorded unless you stop paying them, so to maintain good credit it’s important to be consistent on those payments. Remember that family and friends may also be able to help you in a tight spot and that people are often glad to help in rough times.
If your credit score is already suffering because of past medical debt, know that you can rebuild it. One good method, especially if you are in the market for a high quality used car, is through auto financing. Making regular payments on a vehicle will reflect positively on your credit score and help increase your credit opportunities. You can start on the path to a new-to-you vehicle and improved credit score by filling out our online financing pre-approval form or contact us today.