February 4, 2023

What to know about medical debt and health benefits as COVID persists

More than a year has passed since the economy pulled out of its COVID-19 recession, hiring started to improve and the stock market bounced back.

Yet the pandemic continues to put pressure on the finances of millions of Americans, and it’s reshaping their thinking about needed products and strategies.

Some people who were stricken with COVID-19 wracked up tens of thousands of dollars in bills to treat the disease and might have missed out on thousands of dollars more in lost wages. Medical debts remain a problem for many, but there are some strategies to help deal with them.

Unpaid medical bills are in some ways preferable to other types of debts, said Money Management International in a recent commentary. There’s often more flexibility in paying the charges, and interest and penalties rarely accrue, unlike with credit cards.

Before doing anything, people facing high medical bills should make sure the charges are accurate, the nonprofit financial counseling group suggests. Verify that the services performed were listed properly, along with the proper charges, dates and doctors involved. Bills can be confusing, so ask for explanations. If incorrect charges are discovered, request their removal.