How to Afford Large, Unexpected Medical Expenses

With healthcare becoming more and more expensive, anybody who’s financially savvy will know a thing or two about saving on health care costs. Checking around for the best value treatments, using your insurance plan wisely, and using preventative care techniques are all excellent methods to save money in the long run. However, many patients aren’t aware that they can continue to save money even after receiving a bill for medical services. An unpaid medical bill can negatively impact on your credit report, which will have a knock-on effect on your finances and ability to get credit in the future. It’s not fair that you should be penalized for an unexpected medical bill that you couldn’t afford, but the good news is that you may not have to pay all or some of it.

#1. Negotiate:

Many people aren’t aware that medical bills are negotiable, both through the hospital or doctor’s office, and your insurance company. Haggling persistently with your medical insurance company to get a cheaper bill can take some effort, but it’s certainly worth it. Ensure that you’re communicating with the right person, for example, a medical billing manager. It’s also a good idea to research the average price for your procedure or treatment online – if you were charged higher than average, you may have some leverage in getting the healthcare facility or insurance company to lower your bill.

#2. Seek Assistance:

If a medical condition is causing you financial hardship or you’re struggling on a low income, you may qualify for help with paying your unexpected medical bill. Most health centers and hospitals will offer discounts or assistance with payments; ask for information at the customer help desk. If you don’t qualify for assistance through your hospital or doctor’s office, you may get some help from a charity. Otherwise, many state and local governments provide assistance programs to qualifying patients.

#3. Consider Crowdfunding:

Today, crowdfunding is becoming a popular method of raising money to help pay off unexpected medical bills. If your bill is unusually large, a collection of small donations from many people to support your cause will quickly add up. To get started, research some popular crowdfunding websites and decide on the fee structure that works for you. Most will ask for a small percentage of the total donated amount to maintain the website, but some give donors the option to cover that. Once you’ve found a suitable crowdfunding platform, get set up and create a campaign page. Pages that do well tend to have a detailed story, photographs, and are widely shared on social media.

#4. Fight the Charges:

Lastly, you may be able to fight the charges if you have been landed with a high, unexpected medical bill. For example, the state of Texas has been actively tracking and taking measures to stop surprise medical billing, and now allows patients to fight high charges via mediation. As a result, the insurer and provider must work together to come up with a fair price. Visit Medical Billing Clearinghouse for more information.

It’s still important to take action if you can’t afford an unexpected medical bill.  Don’t just ignore it!

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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