Whilst you can plan for certain medical expenses, others cannot be predicted. Here are just a few ways in which you can afford these surprise medical bills.
Take out health insurance
Health insurance is the most popular way of paying for surprise medical expenses. Whilst this does mean having to pay an extra bill each month, it could save you having to pay out a huge sum of money at once. By comparing insurers, you can find the cheapest rate. There are plans out there for entire families that can save money compared to insuring everyone individually. A lot of people opt for high deductible plans to save money on insurance, however the danger of this is that you’ll have to pay more out of your own pocket in the event of an emergency.
Work out an interest-free payment scheme
Some hospitals and doctors clinics may be able to offer interest-free payment schemes that allow you to pay the cost in instalments to make it more affordable overall. Such schemes may not be offered unless you ask for them. You may even be able to negotiate the size of the instalments.
Consider a medical loan
There are some lenders out there that offer loans specifically for medical cover. These have low interest rates – some are even interest-free, providing that you consistently pay the instalments on time. These medical loans are a much better option than using standard loans.
Use an FSA
An FSA (Flexible Spending Account) is an account into which you can contribute tax-free earnings. A specific version of this account is an HSA which is used specifically for healthcare costs. These accounts can be great for covering surprise medical expenses. In some cases, they can also be used to cover general medical supplies, prescription drugs and even glasses. HSAs are commonly used in conjunction with health insurance as a way of paying for the deductible. Having one of these accounts can also lower your health insurance rates in many cases.
Consider a legal claim
There may be cases when you’re legally entitled to compensation for an injury. This includes injuries directly caused by others such as car accident injuries, dog bites or even a workplace injury as a result of poor health and safety. Having experienced attorneys at your service could help you to maximise your chance of getting the legal compensation you deserve. If you’ve had to pay for a medical expense out of your own pocket or through a loan, this compensation could help to then reimburse you.
Apply to a medical assistance program
There are medical assistance programs out there available to those on a low income. These can help you to reduce the cost of treatment in an emergency and may be offered by a hospital if you have no means of payment. You can also apply to these programs in advance in the event that you may need emergency care. There can be a lot of paperwork required when applying to such programs, but in most cases they’re worth the discount.
Always check your bills
It’s not uncommon for hospitals to overcharge patients. Make sure to check your medical bills and ask for it to be itemised so that you can see a breakdown of all the individual costs (just in case you’ve been billed for a scan or appointment twice). It’s possible to negotiate a refund if you’ve already paid and realise you’ve been overcharged. If the clinic refuses to reimburse you, you may be able to seek legal help.