Sometimes life is unpredictable, actually usually it is! No one anticiaptes a major illness or injury and even with insurance the medical bills can pile up. I’m currently in the aftermath of a torn rotator cuff, and the bills have started to arrive! This is only the beginning! But, I learned a few things after last years hospitalization of our youngest daughter. This list of ‘do’s and dont’s’ the stress has not been as bad and we are fairing well. I hope you find my tips helpful.
DO start a Health Savings Account, like, yesterday! Starting a medical savings account will help by having designated cash on hand when the expenses hit. The money can be used for anything from a doctors office visit to a therapeutic massage at the chiropractor office. Ask you work place about having this added to your benefits, it is taken directly out of your pay check, pre tax. How much should you save? Save as much as your insurance deductible. For more info on An MSA or HSA click here.
DON’T pay the bills with the credit card. This may seem like the thing to do since the burning desire to pay bills off is practically seering a hole in your heart. But the credit card will seer a hole in your pocket with interest and the bills will still not be paid off!
DO set up a payment plan with the hospital. Explain your situation and tell them how much you CAN pay. Years ago we were on a mere $50 month payment plan towards an ER bill. Eventually, the bill was paid off, at a rate we could manage.
DON’T cash out your whole emergncy fund… Pay a chunk if you can, but then make arrangements with the provider. Zeroing out your whole fund will put you in a precarious predicament. What if you need new brakes? Or need to have your furnace serviced? Make sure you leave enough to deal with some of life’s smaller emergencies.
DO explain your situation to the hospital or provider and see if they have any benevolence funds or bill forgiveness. We have not yet done this, but we know peope who have and it sure doesn’t hurt to ask!
DON’T rely on yourself! During your medical emergency you may have people offer to bring over a meal, say yes! This is hard for me, but I am trying to accept more often. One less thing to do frees you up to focus on the injury, illness, person or rest you need! If your church has a benevolence fund and you are legitmately struggling, talk to the leadership and see what the process is for application. And of course, PRAY! The Provider WILL supply all of our needs, even if it is not how we think it will happen!
How have you managed unexpected medical bills? What tips or tricks do you have to share?