Dealing with unexpected health costs

Health Costs
Health Costs

There is no question that unexpected health expenses can turn lives upside down – and that can happen even with a good health insurance plan.  Figuring out exactly how to pay for medical care due to an unforeseen accident, hospitalization, or illness can be frightening and stressful to say the least.

Health Costs

Health Costs

Though there is no way to determine when a sudden medical emergency will arise, it is possible to plan ahead and devise a strategy to help make those sudden medical bills a little easier to handle.  Taking a proactive approach will often save money and make an otherwise challenging time a little less arduous.  Consider these suggestions so that unexpected health costs don’t overtake matters in the future.

Negotiate the bills

Shopping around for a specific medical treatment is not always possible with a sudden accident or medical emergency, but if the time is available, take it.  Patients that compare the costs associated with particular procedures and medical professionals are often able to save money on health costs.  If this isn’t possible, negotiation is another alternative.  Many medical facilities and physicians are willing to work out monthly payment plans or even reduce the fees slightly – just ask.

Unless one has received medical coding training, understanding a hospital bill can be quite confusing.  Medical coding professionals play a vital roll in the entire medical billing process as they take the information from physician and healthcare provider notes and assign specific codes to create a medical claim.  From that point, the information is sent to the billing department.  It is an arduous and complicated process.

Because there is so much room for error on the bill, it is a good idea to always ask for an itemized bill for any medical services rendered – medical billers sometimes make mistakes.  If there is ever any doubt about what appears on a bill, do not hesitate to ask – it might just save thousands of dollars.

Medical reimbursement plans

Many patients don’t realize that they can actually set some of their salary aside specifically for out-of-pocket dental, vision, and medical expenses not covered by their health insurance with a medical reimbursement account.  Setting up an account is usually pretty simple and involves an estimate of how much money one plans to spend on qualifying expenses.  Each pay period, the allocated amount will be deducted before taxes and set aside.  Throughout the year, when one pays for eligible medical expenses, the tax-free money will go toward reimbursement.

Get additional insurance

It will always be impossible to predict an accident or medical emergency, but one can obtain additional protection from unexpected health costs with critical illness insurance.  This is an effective way of keeping medical bills manageable.  Critical illness insurance provides a cash payment to the insured upon the diagnosis of a covered medical condition.  This can help ease the financial burden of missed work, out-of-network healthcare, and other expenses that may come into play.

Hospital indemnity insurance is another type of additional coverage one might consider in order to tackle the prospect of unexpected medical costs.  This sort of insurance picks up where most medical insurance leaves off and usually helps to cover the costs associated with surgical services, therapy, chemotherapy, surgeon fees, and other expenses.