Recently, President Biden made national headlines for an ambitious student loan forgiveness plan. While the courts have temporarily blocked it from going forward, the prevailing feeling seems to be that it will resume sooner rather than later.
That’s great news for many individuals trying to get out from under hefty student loan obligations. However, some people are questioning whether the president’s next target should be the medical debt with which some Americans struggle.
Let’s go over whether that seems likely right now.
How Some People Get Into Medical Debt
Do medical bills affect your credit? That’s one of the first questions that many individuals ask when they visit hospitals or other medical facilities in this country.
If you can’t pay a medical bill, that begins to negatively affect your credit as time passes. Your debt will follow you, and bill collectors might start hounding you. With poor credit, you’ll also have a more challenging time getting new credit cards, securing a mortgage from a bank, or renting an apartment.
Many individuals get into debt because they need medical care but don’t have insurance. You might also have insurance, but it doesn’t cover certain procedures.
It’s also not inconceivable that you think a medical procedure will cost a particular amount, but the facility then reveals hidden charges associated with your treatment or hospital stay. These sorts of situations happen more often than you might think.
The Likelihood Biden Will Tackle Medical Debt Next
Experts do not consider it particularly likely that President Biden will try to forgive medical debt next. Even if he wanted to, there would be issues related to the legality of such an action.
The president felt he could move unilaterally to forgive some student loan debts because the federal government was the holder of those loans. Current or former students with private debt couldn’t get their loans forgiven, though.
The problem would be much the same if Biden tried to forgive some or all of the medical debt that remains such an issue for a certain population segment. Their debt is held by private companies, and the federal government is powerless to forgive it.
Are There Other Options?
It’s not likely that privatized healthcare will be abolished in this country anytime soon, and the president can’t move to forgive your outstanding medical debt. You have other options if you’re finding it difficult to get out from under it, though.
Some hospitals have forgiveness programs for which you can apply if you don’t have the cash to pay your bill. These programs will often forgive at least some of the money you owe if you demonstrate that you’re suffering extreme economic hardship.
You can also look into certain government assistance programs and organizations that might help you in this regard. You can investigate veterans’ groups if you qualify. There are also entities like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation. They exist specifically to help people who have battled those diseases and are now feeling the financial strain.
Federal Assistance Isn’t Likely
Since medical debt is generally held by private entities, you should not expect relief handed down from the federal government. Looking into hospital debt forgiveness programs, veteran affairs groups, and various foundations and similar entities is probably the most logical move.
Keep in mind that some of these groups are only active in certain states. Also, individual states have different rules for how aggressively medical facilities can come after you if you owe money you can’t pay.
While the president probably can’t do anything to directly decrease your medical debt, looking for other means of relief is possible and the most sensible move if you’re unable to pay back what you owe.
Name: Michael Bertini
Job Title: Consultant