Healthcare is often expensive, and unexpected procedures can prove financially crippling for the average family. If you’re facing high healthcare costs, it’s time to take a look at all of your options. Not everything will be available to all families, but you’ll hopefully be able to find something that works well for you.
Watch Your Insurance
Whether your company provides you with an insurance plan or you need to buy one on your own through the healthcare exchanges, you always have options. There’s usually a trade-off. If you have low monthly premium payments, you’ll have higher deductibles a co-insurance costs. If you pay more each month, you’ll need to pay less at the time of service. In general, if you know that you’re going to need a lot of medical care, it’s smart to choose the plan with the higher monthly payment.
Health Savings Accounts
If you have a plan with a high deductible, you’re usually eligible to start a Health Savings Account. This directs pre-tax dollars into a special account that you can use to pay your healthcare costs. Sometimes, this is done through your employer to make it easy, but some people open their own account and later take a tax deduction.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Many employers pay into flexible spending accounts to cover some of their employees’ healthcare costs. These accounts often allow you to pay for certain expenses, such as co-pays and prescription fees, but it can also cover some other expenses, such as over-the-counter medications. Typically, a flexible spending account is a “use it or lose it” type of account. You need to spend the balance by the end of the year.
If you received care and now have a high payment you need to make, most hospitals and doctor’s offices are willing to work with you. Simply call up their billing department and explain their situation. In some cases, they’re able to let you make payments at zero percent interest so that you have affordable treatment. In other cases, they may refer you to a credit company that specializes in low-interest rates for healthcare costs.
Some hospitals even offer a special Charity Care program. Under this program, income-eligible people can make payments based on a sliding scale. For example, the company may require you to only pay 20 percent of the full bill, and they write off the rest. Income limits vary based on city and the number of people in your family, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
When your medical bills get high, you don’t necessarily have to consider bankruptcy. Fully look into all of the options that are available to you and make a smart financial decision.