One of the biggest problems when it comes to budgeting for medical bills is that you never know when a medical emergency could strike. It is different from buying a car or a house where you have an idea of how much it will cost you and you can save for years. Medical expenses often happen unexpectedly and due to an emergency. To be honest, most people today still have trouble making ends meet, so saving in advance for medical care is not always an option.
Some might believe that if they have insurance, it will take care of everything for them. That is not always the case either. Even with insurance, you could still find that you have some high medical bills since insurance will not cover all your costs in most cases.
What are you supposed to do if you are sick or injured? You cannot ignore the problem, and you need to have professional medical care. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to help budget for your medical bills and to get them under control if you already have expenses you are paying for.
Try to Start Saving Now
Given the rising costs of medical care and the uncertainty in the marketplace right now when it comes to insurance, it truly is a good idea to start saving money where and when you can, even if you and your family are entirely healthy, and even if you have insurance. The following budgeting tips can help you get started. It might not be easy, and it might not be possible for everyone, so later in the article we will discuss what you can do when those medical bills are still too much to handle.
Budgeting Tips to Pay for Medical Bills, or to Start an Emergency Medical Fund
One of the first things you will want to do is to set a goal for your savings if you would like to create your own emergency medical fund. You could choose an actual Health Savings Account to contribute to, but not everyone has this option. If you have insurance, you might want to save enough so that you have the ability to cover your plan’s out of pocket premium. You do not have to stop saving once you reach that goal, of course. You can continue to save. Consider putting the money into an account that can grow interest, as well.
The following are a few ways that you might be able to cut down on some of your current expenses, which can make it easier to deal with your medical bills. It is never fun to have to sacrifice, but if you do not pay those bills, it could mean a hit to your credit score.
- Bring your lunch from home rather than going out to eat.
- Bring coffee from home instead of going to coffee shops.
- Cut the cable television providers and just use Hulu and Netflix for your entertainment.
- Go out a bit less.
- Buy generic brands instead of name brands.
How much could skipping some of these luxuries save you each month? It depends on the person and how much they are currently spending, but we can look at an example of a typical person.
If they go out for lunch three times per week, and they spend just $10 on each of those meals, they are spending $30 a week and $120 over the course of the month. If they stop for coffee and spend $4 on a cup each morning, they are spending $20 a week and $80 a month. So far, that’s $200 of luxuries that you could skip and save. Cable television prices vary, but if it is $80 a month for a service, you could cut it out and spend about $20 combined for both Hulu and Netflix. It is another $60 a month in savings. Going out just two fewer times a month could save you $100 or more, and buying generic might save you another $50. Together, this could help you to save around $400 a month.
You could put that money into your emergency medical savings, or you could use it to help pay down medical debt that you already have. As we said, no one likes to sacrifice, but it might become necessary.
One of the most important things to remember when you are trying to budget and save for medical care is that you should only use that money for your medical expenses. If you are saving as a precaution against future medical issues, it can be tempting to dip into the funds when you want to buy something for yourself or the family. You should strive to resist that temptation, though. You will be much happier that you saved for a rainy day when those clouds full of medical debt start to roll toward you!
Are You Eligible for Medicaid, CHIP, or Medicare?
If you are struggling financially, you will want to see if you might be eligible to receive help from the government for your medical issues. Depending on your level of income, you could get some assistance.
Medicaid is an option that provides low-cost, or free, coverage for those individuals and families that are low income, and considers the size of the household, income, age, and disability status. The CHIP program, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is low-cost coverage for children. Even if your family does not qualify for Medicaid, your children may still qualify for CHIP. Medicare is a coverage program for people who are 65 and over. However, it can also aid those who have long-term illnesses and disabilities.
Even if you do not feel you qualify for one of these programs, it is still worth your while to check them out and to see what is available. You may be able to find some unexpected help.
When the Medical Bills Are Still Too High
What happens when you have tried to save and budget for your medical bills to the best of your ability, and you discover that they are still too high? With the incredibly high cost of medical care, this is a distinct possibility for many people today. Fortunately, you can do some things that could help to reduce the amount that you owe.
One of the most important things to do is to look at your medical bills to make sure they are accurate. While billing departments and insurance companies strive to do a good job, mistakes happen and sometimes things can fall through the cracks. There is a chance that your insurance company did not pay for part of the bill that they should have covered, for example. You might have been billed twice for the same procedure, or you might have been billed for the wrong procedure. Many potential mistakes exist, and this is why you always want to check your medical bills carefully.
A tactic that you can also try is negotiation. Many people do not realize that they have the potential to negotiate their medical bills, but it is possible. Do your homework and research the true and fair cost of the procedure in your area and try to negotiate for a lower price. Speak with the billing department and explain your situation. You want to pay your bills, but they are too high. Ask if they could forgive part of the bill if you were to pay part in cash now. Ask if they could set up payment plans that are lower. See if they have financial aid available. There are many possibilities that you could try.
Of course, you need to be willing to negotiate. Be polite, but do not let them walk all over you. For many people, the idea of trying to negotiate for their medical costs is hard to grasp. They are in the mindset that the price and the bills are set in stone. Others might not feel comfortable trying to negotiate on their own. Whether negotiating sounds daunting or you’re up for the task, consider having an advocate from inside the industry that can speak the language on your behalf. A professional advocate can provide a significantly better outcome for you without you having to put in any real work.
Have a Professional Take Care of the Negotiations
Navigating the negotiation process efficiently and professionally will net far greater results. Get in touch with us at Ducit Health. We are in the business of helping people just like you so you can pay less for your medical bills, and we have a very successful record. Our clients save an average of 59% on their medical bills. We look forward to analyzing your bills today so we can let you precisely how much we can help. With lower bills, it will help to clear away all of that stress and worry that you have been feeling.
Meta: Are you worried about your medical bills? The following are some tips that can help you budget properly, and you can learn some of your other options.