It’s no secret that healthcare costs are astronomical and not coming down anytime soon. Unfortunately, this is true whether you have insurance or not. We pay close to $12,000 a year + co-pays and deductibles for our family plan. The biggest slap in the face is the fact that it doesn’t even pay for the kind of healthcare our family uses the most.
Unfortunately, the cost of past hospital bills, out of network doctors, and alternative therapies, including supplements, are all left on the table for many American families to deal with out of pocket. It is, therefore, imperative to budget for healthcare costs so you can pay for them in a timely manner.
We touched on this topic a while ago, but it deserves a revisit because more and more people are going bankrupt from overdue medical bills. In fact, more than 65% of all bankruptcies in America are related to medical expenses. And, trust me, I understand the cost of this all too well. I have friends who have actually turned to online crowdfunding to raise money for medical bills. In fact, I’ve considered recently as well. In the interest of getting healthy and staying that way, let’s visit a few points below.
Ask about Healthcare Accounts
You may not know it, but depending on where you work and are located in the world, you might be able to apply for a healthcare account through your employer. Something like a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) could be of great help, especially if you or someone in your family is chronically ill. These employer-based accounts can be set up at the beginning of a fiscal year and aid in paying for medical expenses throughout the year, even if the providers aren’t in your insurance network. Companies that offer these types of accounts will contribute to or match your contributions each pay period.
Keep in mind, these types of accounts are not the same as a health spending account that has much stricter guidelines attached. Ask your Human Resources dept. to give you details about these types of healthcare options offered by your company. Additionally, some of your healthcare expenses may be tax-deductible as well.
Double Check All Charges before Paying Bills
When it comes to urgent care billing and that for other types of medical services you might receive, understand that mistakes do happen. Furthermore, you have a right to know exactly what you’re paying for before you send one single dollar. If you’re confused about a bill or a specific charge, call the billing department of the provider to get details about your bill.
Furthermore, if you suddenly get a bill in the mail or a ding on your credit for a really old bill, that is a red flag that something isn’t right. Dig into records and request all documentation on these types of charges.
Understand Your Insurance Plan
It’s also a good idea to consider your current health insurance plan. Make sure you are getting the most for your money. If there are things you aren’t using on your plan, think about altering your plan to greater meet your needs. Most companies offer different plans for varying premiums.
Do evaluate and compare health insurance plans from various companies. Reach out for free quotes from comparison websites, and see if you can tailor a plan to fit your needs. All in all, it’s good to see if you can save any money with a better plan, or invest a little bit more in some areas to ensure the majority of medical costs are taken care of.
Plan for Unexpected Costs
Even with all of this careful planning, you can still have unforeseen emergencies and expenses. This is why having an emergency fund that is separate from your regular healthcare budget is important. Try to put aside a little every week to go toward anything related to healthcare. Keep this as an extra source of security should something happen in the future.