Medical Bill Consolidation Basics

By Brandi Brown , last updated October 28, 2011

Deciding whether to use a medical bill consolidation service, apply for a loan, or simply work with healthcare providers on your own can be tough, especially if you are under immense pressure from your medical debt. Medical bill consolidation works for many people, but it requires understanding the basics of consolidation and what it could mean for you.

Basics

Medical bill consolidation means taking a large number of medical bills and putting them together into one monthly payment. For people who have had major surgery or ongoing treatment for chronic conditions, medical bill consolidation is often appealing. It reduces the sheer number of bills that you have to juggle. By choosing to use a consolidation loan or service, you will make one larger monthly payment, which just makes life a bit easier.

Medical Bill Consolidation Through Loans

Bill consolidation works in two ways. The first is that you will get a loan. For medical bills, you can get an unsecured loan, which is just a personal loan based on your employment and credit rating, or you can get a secured loan in which you put up real property (house, car, etc.) as collateral for the loan. A secured loan cannot be discharged in bankruptcy without losing the collateral, but you can receive reprieve from an unsecured loan if you need to file for bankruptcy later. Unsecured medical debt also is eligible for discharge.

Medical Bill Consolidation Through Consolidation Services

Another option for medical bill consolidation is simply to use a third-party consolidation company to negotiate with healthcare providers. You will pay these companies money, and they will dole it out based on agreements they have made with the healthcare provider. While you sometimes will pay less, the overall benefit of these programs is that you will not have the stress of dealing with providers. Instead, you will make a single payment to the consolidation company. Either of these options will work for people who can pay their medical bills but need relief from managing the bills. If you cannot pay your medical debt, however, bankruptcy or charitable assistance may be better routes to explore.

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