A grave illness or serious injury may require extensive time in the hospital and continued medical treatment. Even with health insurance, this can result in medical bills that a patient and his or her family may be unable to pay. Overwhelming medical debt is a problem for many in Massachusetts, but there are a few things that may allow a consumer to bring these balances down to a more manageable level.

Medical billing is prone to error, which is why it is important for a patient to carefully review all bills. It is the patient’s right to get an itemized list of all charges and know what they are for. It may be necessary to discuss it with the billing department. Fixing errors and overcharges could result in lower bills. It may also help to discuss with the insurance company why certain things weren’t covered and appeal a denied claim.

It’s not always possible for a Massachusetts patient to get his or her medical bills revised. If this is the case, it might help to negotiate the balances. Almost 60% of individuals with medical bills said they were able to successfully negotiate their costs. This may mean working on a more manageable payment amount each month or negotiating a lump sum payment.

Even with these steps, it may not be possible for a family to effectively manage their medical bills. Consumer bankruptcy may offer a way out, allowing an applicant to discharge certain unsecured balances. An assessment of the individual financial situation will reveal if this is an appropriate way forward.