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20 Apr 2012

When medical bills stack up, the ensuing Colorado debt can seem insurmountable.

Our Colorado Springs debt relief attorneys understand that these snowballing bills can present severe financial challenges. Sometimes, individuals are forced to choose between paying a doctor bill and buying groceries. Often, they end up paying off medical bills using credit cards, which then force them to pay astronomical interest rates - which can also result in a seemingly unscalable hole of debt.


What you may not realize is that just  because you owe a particular balance on a medical bill doesn't always mean that figure is concrete. In fact, you can often negotiate to lower those rates - especially when health care companies consider that the alternative is not getting paid whatsoever.

Individuals have reportedly cut some of their medical bills in half. Part of it involves your willingness to pay at least part of it upfront. For example, a $3,000 bill was reduced to a $1,500 bill when the patient agreed to pay that $1,500 upfront.

This is expected to be an increasing trend, as out-of-pocket costs for health care are climbing ever-higher. In fact, some 40 million Americans last  year were enrolled in health care plans that mandated a $1,000 deductible for individuals and $2,000 for families - almost double what it was just a handful of years ago. It's no wonder medical debt is such a huge problem in this country.

One tactic is to directly ask the source. If you know that your insurance doesn't cover a procedure, or worse if you are totally uninsured, ask your doctor if he or she would be willing to have  you pay whatever Medicare might reimburse them for. That might possibly take 30 to 40 percent off the price from the get-go. The "Health Care Blue Book" can help to give you a better idea of what health care providers are typically paid by insurance companies.

Another thing to consider is shopping around for health care services. Some places might provide the same procedure for far less.

You may also consider asking the doctor's billing office if they might be willing to cut some of the price if you pay it upfront.

Additionally, have an idea of the tests you might need and those you don't. Unnecessary blood work or other tests are sometimes ordered simply because that's part of procedure - but the costs add up. Talk to your doctor about whether such tests are actually necessary.

And of course, you always have the option to consult with a Colorado Springs debt relief attorney, who can assist you in negotiating especially high medical and credit card debts.

31 May 2012

Colorado bankruptcy attorneys know that with wedding season coming up, many brides have visions of destination vows, mile-high wedding cakes and princess gowns.

But all of that can quickly lead to a Colorado Springs bankruptcy, if you're not careful.  Of course, parents want to give their children a memorable and special occasion. They reason that it's a once-in-a-lifetime event.

While there may be certain aspects upon which you can certainly splurge, it's important not to get yourself into a pattern of debt for a one-day event, no matter how special. Consider that according to TheKnot.com, the average wedding cake costs a whopping $550. For a cake.


So the key is to spend smartly.

Here are some ideas for ways to keep your wedding costs down:

Cake

One trick to try is to have the first layer of your cake be a yummy sheet cake. But for aesthetic purposes, consider using a cardboard "fake cake," or a decorated foam set that sits atop one layer of the real stuff. That way, you cut the bottom layer for pictures, then wheel it in the back for the bottom layer to be cut and served. No one is any wiser and you just saved several hundred dollars. Or, consider serving cupcakes instead.

Rehearsal Dinner

Consider hosting this event at a relative's home and serving cheese and meat trays and salads from a local deli or supermarket. This could save you bundles.

Reception

Of course, it would be rude not to feed your wedding guests at all. But the time of day will determine what kind of food you should feed them. And if you have an earlier wedding (say, morning or early afternoon), you can opt for breakfast or lunch food, which can be a whole lot less expensive than a dinner. Think waffles, French toast and omelets versus salmon and braised beef.

Alcohol

You can curb your costs here by serving wine, beer and perhaps a "signature" drink, which can be less costly than stocking up on various kinds of high-end liquor. You may even want to consider skipping the champagne toast, or substituting sparkling cider instead. 

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