Medical debt is a huge burden for many American families. Even with health insurance, the cost of medical care can be overwhelming. Whether it's due to an accident, pregnancy, illness or disease, medical expenses can leave you strapped for cash and could even lead to bankruptcy.
A March 2019 article in the American Journal of Public Health found that medical debt was a contributing factor in nearly 60% of the bankruptcies studied. A poll by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that one in five families with health insurance will struggle to pay medical bills. That goes up to over 50% by those without insurance.
What are your options for handling medical debt? Here are some options to consider when repaying medical debt thru debt consolidation.
How can I consolidate my medical bills?
If you've checked for billing errors and looked at financial assistance and still have large medical debt payments, then consider these options. You can consolidate medical bills and other debts with solutions like these:
- Personal loan
You could take out a personal loan from a bank to help pay down medical debt. These loans may be unsecured, which means that a bank cannot take your home or car if you used them as collateral. Personal loans often have a fixed rate and term. Because these loans typically have higher rates than home loans, shop around for the best offer.
- Cash out refinance for debt consolidation
A cash out refinance allows you to borrow against your home's equity. You replace your current mortgage with a new mortgage for a larger amount. You take the difference between the old loan amount and the new loan amount as cash, which you use to pay off medical bills and other debts. A cash out refinance reduces the number of bills you pay by rolling them into your home loan. You may pay a lower interest rate too. Cash out refinances typically come with closing fees and other costs, so understand the details before you choose one.
- HELOC or Home Equity loan
These are second mortgage loans which use your home's equity as collateral. Home equity loans give you a lump sum of money with a fixed interest rate and term. A home equity line of credit gives you access to an amount of money you can tap when you need it. HELOCs have adjustable interest rates, so your payments may increase over time. Read more about them here.
- Credit card
Putting your medical debt on a credit card may not be the best option because the interest rate is usually much higher than a home loan, refinance or personal loan. Using your credit card for medical bills can hurt your credit score if you can't make the payments on time.
To learn more about using your home's equity to consolidate medical debt talk to one of Freedom Mortgage's loan specialists today.