Annual healthcare spending is at $3.8 trillion. Half of all collections on credit reports result from unpaid medical bills, according to the Federal Reserve.

Paying your medical bills can seem frightening, given their staggering costs. Don’t let unpaid medical bills ruin your credit. You may not realize it, but you have a variety of options to help pay back your medical bills. Use one or more of the following out-of-the-box methods:

1. Tap into Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding websites designed to help people pay for medical expenses are growing in popularity. Just as someone would raise money for a cause or action, people can also ask others to pitch in and help them pay medical bills. Crowdfunding websites like Giveforward.com can help you raise money to pay for a portion of your medical bills.

2. Try Peer-to-Peer Lending

When a personal loan fails, look into a peer-to-peer lender to help give you money directly. This type of loan comes from someone looking to earn extra cash by fronting you money. Websites such as Prosper.com are good places to start on your search for a peer-to-peer lender. Most lenders will only offer you more money if your credit score is 640 or above. The interest rate you pay on the loan is determined by the lender. Expect to pay a high interest rate if you have a poor credit history — in that case you should only borrow from a personal lender as a last resort.

3. Check for Hospital Charity Programs

Most hospitals across the nation have charity programs that allow people to receive financial assistance in paying back their medical bills. Take the time to look into charity programs at your hospital. Check its official website or inquire with the staff to learn more about whether this type of program exists at your hospital. If not, a member of staff may at least be able to point you in the right direction.

4. Haggle with the Medical Office

If you have exhausted most of your options, negotiate with the hospital or medical office. Let them know how much you can afford to pay back each month and that you’d like to reform your current monthly bill. When they see you making a serious effort to eliminate a payment problem before it occurs, they may be more lenient on you.

5. Haggle with Your Insurance Company

If you have paid all of your insurance bills on time, give them a call to ask for a lower bill. Ask to review all documents to ensure that they covered as much as possible. Another look at all of the documents concerning your medical bills may reveal that you can receive more coverage than originally estimated. The only way to find out is to ask.

6. Refinance Your Mortgage

This should not be done lightly without serious thought, but if your medical bills are really weighing you down financially, it may be best to reduce the pressure of your monthly bill by refinancing your mortgage. Check to see how much equity you have in your home to figure out if it is worth refinancing before you commit to this decision.

The advantage of refinancing your mortgage to pay off medical bills is that your overall monthly bills should significantly reduce; the disadvantage is that it is going to take longer to pay off your home. Weigh these two facts to determine whether or not refinancing is a smart option for you.

7. Tap into Your Retirement Plan

If your medical bills are too expensive for you to manage, and you have no other options, consider tapping into your retirement plan. Depending on your retirement plan, you may be subject to pay taxes or fines if you make an early withdrawal. Refer to your tax advisor to learn more about your options, and how much it will cost you. Remember, once your medical bills are behind you it’s wise to formulate a new plan for contributing to your retirement to avoid setbacks before your golden years.

8. Find New Work

Consider looking for a higher paying job, or find a second one to help you pay your bills. A temporary part-time position, in addition to your current job may be exactly the additional source of income you need to help you pay your medical bills on time. Although it may not be easy to find a second job, examine what you are good at (babysitting, tutoring, cooking, organizing) and start from there. Also, if your job pays overtime, it may benefit you to speak to your employer.

9. Cut Out Non-essentials

In order to pay off your medical bills, you may have to cut out your cable bill, high-speed Internet or anything else that is not essential to your life. Review your monthly billing statements to determine what you can afford to live without. It may take a bit of hard work, but you should consider making some serious cuts for your monthly spending to pay your medical bill down properly.

10. Get a No-Interest Credit Card

While opening a new line of credit may be difficult for someone without a good credit rating, a new credit card may be an option for someone with a good credit score. A credit card that has no interest for 12 to 24 months can help you pay back your medical bills. However, you should pay back as much as you can while you have a limited introductory offer. After it ends, have a second plan to pay back your debt. For more information, see How to Avoid Medical Debt and 20 Ways to Save on Medical Bills.

Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    20 Medical Expenses You Didn't Know You Could Deduct

    To lower your tax bill, be sure not to miss out on these commonly overlooked medical tax deductions.
  2. Budgeting

    Preventing Medical Bankruptcy

    Medical expenses are the number-one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Here are some steps to protect yourself.
  3. Home & Auto

    How To Avoid Medical Debt

    Find out what you can do to avoid a financial meltdown when there's a medical emergency.
  4. Insurance

    Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Procedures

    As if being sick isn’t bad enough, the price of these procedures just might kill you.
  5. Options & Futures

    20 Ways To Save On Medical Bills

    Handy tips to cut the cost of hospital bills, co-pays, prescription drugs and more.
  6. Credit & Loans

    5 Extreme Ways To Raise Your Credit Score

    Desperate to rebuild your credit score because you can’t obtain a loan with a decent interest rate? Here are some extreme options to try.
  7. Investing

    How To Make Sure Your Healthcare Costs Do Not Ruin Your Retirement

    The best proactive plan of action for a stable retirement is to understand medical costs, plan ahead, invest properly, and consider supplemental insurance.
  8. Investing News

    Stryker Corporation: A Strong Capital Position

    A discussion on business operations, financials, valuation and growth trends for Stryker Corporation.
  9. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 Micro Cap Biotechnology Stocks for 2016 (BSTC, OSIR)

    Discover some of the most promising micro-cap biotechnology stocks that investors can consider for their 2016 investment portfolio.
  10. Personal Finance

    The Top 5 Personal Finance Experts to Follow in 2016

    Here is a look at five money and investing experts who can help you reach your financial goals for 2016.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do unpaid medical bills appear on my credit report?

    An unpaid medical bill can appear on a credit report, usually after it is turned over to a collection agency. The most common ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does dental insurance cover implants?

    Dental implants have become a widely used procedure in dentistry. Despite their popularity, however, they tend to not be ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does dental insurance cover dentures?

    Most full dental insurance policies include some restorative coverage, usually meaning that up to 50% of the cost of dentures ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can CareCredit be used for family members?

    CareCredit has become a widely used option when it comes to paying for medical procedures, primarily procedures not typically ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) be used for dental?

    Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can be used to pay for dental expenses including deductibles and co-payments with pretax ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does dental insurance cover braces?

    Most regular dental plans cover little to none of the costs of braces. The primary focus of regular dental plans is prevention ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  2. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  3. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  4. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  5. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  6. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
Trading Center