CHICAGO (CBS)– For millions of people who’ve been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours reduced, there’s some really hard financial choices to make right now.

What bills to pay? Which to ask for forgiveness? Which to hold off on while trying to make ends meet during this crisis?

Most financial experts agree that you need to focus on the essentials first, the bills that keep the household running.

Kent Ivanoff is the CEO of VisitPay, which helps people manage medical bills.

If you’ve recently lost a job or income, Ivanoff says to call your healthcare system to ask about financial assistance instead of turning to high cost credit cards or dipping into savings plans.

“Across our healthcare clients, typically about 20-30% of what is owed by patients is written off completely to financial assistance,” he said. “In some cases, half of the bill written down to zero.”

Ivanoff says only about 11% of people actually know of, and take advantage of, financial assistance offered by health care systems.