Nowadays, contracting an illness comes with two primary sources of trouble. Not only do you have to deal with the effects of the disease itself, but you also need to worry about racking up medical bills. Even people who pay ridiculously high premiums in health insurance plans can be caught by surprise when they discover how little their insurance company covers. Often, people end up going bankrupt because of medical debt. In other cases, they are forced to turn down life-saving procedures because they cannot afford them. It, unfortunately, becomes your responsibility to figure out how you can handle your medical expenses. Hopefully, this guide will provide you with the tips needed to ensure you can afford any medical emergency or treatment.
Use medical payment plans
When inquiring about an expensive procedure, the first thing you should do is find out what sort of payment plan the hospital offers. This information allows you to spread out the cost of the medical expense and maintain a cash flow through your regular salary. In some states, you can cite medical expenses within your tax bill to get a deduction as well. Combining a payment plan with the tax bill deduction can allow you to obtain a deduction in more than one fiscal year. You can combine payment plans with an upfront partial payment in cash to reduce costs in some hospitals.
Find organizations that help
Many companies have a mission statement to reduce financial barriers to quality healthcare for underinsured patients. These organizations serve as ideal financial resources for patients dealing with long-term and terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma, pulmonary fibrosis, AIDS, etc. These organizations can help you secure funds for treatment, medication, insurance premiums, child healthcare treatment costs, and associated travel costs. Some organizations even help you obtain a diagnosis or access your life-saving drugs at reduced prices.
Get a medical credit card
In cases where payment plans are not an option, you can sign up for a medical credit card. These credit cards are used for specific procedures and offer interest-free periods of up to one year. This option is viable if you’re sure you can pay off the medical debt before the interest-free period expires. If you default on your payments or undergo delays, you may have to deal with deferred interest rates. These interest rates can be pretty high and may even prove more expensive than the original medical bill. Only go for a medical credit card if you’re confident you can settle the debt in time.
Hire a medical bill advocate
If you had an extended stay in the hospital, get ready to face a mountain of bills to pay. Hiring a medical bill advocate can be an extra cost. Still, this lawyer can negotiate a lower healthcare bill on your behalf. The advocates are experts in medical billing and can understand the jargon used on bills to outline your expenditure. They also have a general awareness of the standard costs for most procedures. A medical bill advocate can spot potential errors or overcharging, and help you reduce the amount you owe. Moreover, you can reach out to organizations like Medical Billing Advocates of America to connect with an experienced lawyer. Just ensure the cost of the advocate will outweigh the potential savings you’d obtain on your healthcare bill before you hire one.
Negotiate on your own
Suppose you cannot afford a medical bill advocate. In that case, you can attempt to handle the negotiations on your own. This means you would have to comb through your bills and point out any expenditures that seem incorrect or too high. A hospital bill is like any other marketplace item. So you can negotiate the price of expensive medical procedures, a hospital stay, and more. If the medical debt has been passed onto a collections agency, be aware that most debt collectors buy the debt for pennies on the dollar. This can be a strong leverage point in your negotiations.
Use a crowdfunding service
Websites like GoFundMe have become extremely important in the modern age to help patients cover medical expenses. It is a free platform you can use to ask the masses for donations. The site has no platform fees, so you will be able to collect all the money raised by your campaign. Moreover, it becomes an excellent community for financial assistance and emotional support. These services are designed to be easily shared on social media so that you can reach the maximum number of people in your hour of need.
Many Americans struggle to make ends meet when dealing with medical treatments. It can make their financial situation worse. If you’re one of the people who have to pay off a considerable medical expense, following this guide will help you keep your costs under control. Whether you’re dealing with a lack of health coverage or high co-pays, know that you’re not in the struggle alone and that there are solutions to your financial woes.