I owe a large amount on several credit cards. Last year I was hospitalized and had to bill my deductibles and some medications. Also, I had to replace my car’s transmission. I can afford to pay only the minimum amount owed on these credit cards. I’ve never been in debt, and now I’m worried. Do you have any suggestions?
You are not alone in such a financial situation. In a recent Forbes article, it was found that for seniors, “having a credit card balance is the best indicator of difficulty paying monthly bills and financial hardship.” However, you can try to control the amount of your debt. Your high medical bills and prescriptions suggest that your health insurance is not meeting your needs.
I encourage you to review your current health insurance coverage with one of the highly trained volunteer counselors of the SHINE (Serving Everyone’s Health Insurance Needs) program. SHINE volunteers provide free, unbiased information and are intimately familiar with all approved plans in the area where you live and can help you find another business with more comprehensive coverage. This is especially important for anyone who needs a lot of prescription drugs, because not all plans are created equal. It may be too late to pay your current bills, but in the future, remember that hospital billing departments often work with patients to arrange payment plans at lower rates than cards. credit. To arrange a Medicare consultation, call your local Senior Center or the SHINE regional office at 978-946-1374.
Additionally, you may want to consider making credit card debt and consolidating that debt a top priority. Many organizations offer debt consolidation services, but choose a reputable one that has your best interests in mind. One option is the Financial Resources Program, which is part of the AARP Foundation, which is administered by our agency. The goals of the program are to help older people make sound financial decisions and to provide them with the basic skills to successfully manage their financial resources.
These volunteers treat all conversations with the highest level of sensitivity and confidentiality. They may offer you suggestions for reducing your credit card debt, but the final decision to take action will be up to you. If you want to continue down this path, they may be able to help you negotiate with the credit card or debt consolidation company. You can contact the Financial Resources Program at 978-946-1462.
I wish you good luck.
Do you have difficulty caring for an elderly person or are you having difficulty finding resources? Our experienced staff are available to assist you. Visit us online at www.ESMV.org for more information. You can also call us at 1-800-892-0890 or email [email protected] Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Merrimack Valley and North Coast Seniors Services.