Getting news of a serious illness or going to the emergency room may result in financial hardships. According to a report by USA Today, medical debt is the top reason that Americans file for bankruptcy. Even if you have health insurance, your coverage may not be sufficient enough to help you afford your expenses.

Receiving your medical bills in the mail may give you a sense of dread and hopelessness. Fortunately, you can take care of your medical bills. Here are some methods for handling your medical debt.

1. Negotiate the costs

Believe it or not, you may be able to get the service provider to reduce your medical bill. While it may seem like medical bills are non-negotiable, it is possible. Before you try to negotiate the price, make sure you review your bill to ensure it is accurate. If you notice charges for items or services you did not receive, get in touch with the billing department and request an explanation.

2. Apply for government aid

The government has programs that make medical costs more affordable. See if you qualify for anything like Medicaid or Medicare. Your eligibility will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, income, family size and disability status. If you can obtain coverage through a government program, you may be able to lower or even eliminate your outstanding costs.

3. Consider bankruptcy

While filing for bankruptcy may sound like a scary last resort, it may actually be a helpful solution. It may be your only option if you do not qualify for aid programs and are unable to negotiate the price with the hospital. Filing bankruptcy will discharge your medical debt and get you back on your financial footing.

If you are dealing with the crushing weight of medical bills, you may not know where to turn. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to deal with your debt and put it in the rearview mirror.