Even the healthiest and most cautious of people can find themselves burdened with massive medical expenses when the unexpected happens. Accidents and illnesses rarely give warning or discriminate between those who can handle them financially and those who cannot. This is why it is crucial for all people to take the necessary steps to manage their medical bills both before and after accidents and emergencies happen.
Seek Preventative Care
While it may seem counterintuitive, spending money on doctor’s visits now is actually the first defense against becoming burdened with excessive medical bills in the future. By seeking preventative care, people can make sure they stay healthy and uncover any potential illnesses or diseases in the early stages. The sooner people are able to catch potential health problems, the easier and cheaper the problems are to cure. Waiting to remedy health issues only leads to worsened health and additional health problems.
Get the Right Coverage
The amount of coverage individuals need depends on the individuals and their risk of having an accident or illness. Individuals who play sports, have health conditions or work at dangerous jobs usually need better coverage than young, healthy people who rarely put themselves in risky situations. A trusted insurance agent can help people decide which amount and type of coverage is right for them.
Set Up a Flexible-Spending Account
While insurance can pay a large portion of medical expenses, it does not pay for everything. Some items are either not covered by insurance, or are not covered until after people reach their deductible. A flexible-spending account allows people to set aside money for medical expenses such as deductibles, co-pays, and vision or dental check-ups. With a flexible-spending account, a certain amount is automatically deducted from each paycheck and placed into an account so it will be available when needed.
Keep Track of Dates and Paperwork
Keeping track of medical paperwork is essential as all too often mistakes are made. People might be billed twice for the same visit, they might be billed for the wrong amount or they might be denied coverage for a visit that insurance should have covered. By keeping track of doctor’s appointments and payments using a system such as a calendar, list or spreadsheet, people can make sure they are not unfairly charged.
Ask for Discounts or Reductions
Surprisingly enough, the amount people are billed for medical services is not always the amount people have to pay. Sometimes doctor’s offices and hospitals will offer discounts such as uninsured discounts or paid-in-full discounts. They may even simply reduce the cost just because a person asks them to, especially if the person does not have good insurance. While not every doctor’s office or hospital is willing to do this, many are, and it never hurts to ask.
Set Up a Payment Plan
Even if a doctor’s office or hospital will not lower the cost of medical bills, they may agree to let people pay off their balances over time, either with or without interest. Medical professionals realize that medical bills can really add up and that people do not always have the funds they need right away. Furthermore, they would rather get a portion of their money than none at all. Again, it never hurts to ask what arrangements can be made.
While unexpected medical bills can add up quickly and without warning, they do not have to destine people to financial ruin. By preparing in advance for medical emergencies and by taking the necessary steps when medical emergencies happen, people can manage their medical expenses and still come out on top.
Brenda Panin is a finance blogger and a regular contributor to several blogs. She is writing about insurance so she recently spent time researching iSelect. In her free time she also likes to read about marketing and new business strategies.