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Hospitals turn to no-interest payment plans for patients

Think about the last time you got a bill from your doctor or hospital. Even if you have great insurance coverage, the initial cost was probably very high. Today, as insurance changes and more cost is being moved to patients, more and more people in Detroit are feeling the financial burden of going to a doctor. Even a short office visit for a minor problem could result in a bill for hundreds of dollars. It's no secret, then, that hospitals are having even more trouble collecting payments from patients.

Fortunately, a few companies have stepped in and offered a new approach to medical debt that seems to be working better for both patients and hospitals.

The new take on paying off medical bills is based on a no-interest system. Rightfully so, patients are not keen on paying interest on medical bills, especially when they don't have the means to pay them off. New programs offer payment plans that can last as long as two years. Patients generally pay off a percentage of the bill each month, and monthly payments start around $25 and go up from there.

The benefit to programs like this are that patients will have time to pay off their bill without seeing their credit scores drop. Hospitals benefit too. Creators of the program say hospitals are more likely to collect a higher percentage of the money owed to them under this type of system.

Taking care of your health should be the most important thing for Detroit residents. With hospital costs so high, however, many people choose not to go to the doctor at all. Hopefully programs like these will become more widespread so patients are given the opportunity to achieve debt relief through payment plans rather than being constantly harassed by collection agencies.

Source: The New York Times, "Businesses Manage Medical Bill Payment Plans," Ann Carrns, Sept. 18, 2013

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