If you need health care, a large insurance deductible could mean you’re faced with complicated choices. Don’t let your health suffer because of this deductible!
Try these strategies and avoid a financial crisis:
1. Understand your deductible. Before you worry about high medical bills, it’s important to check the exact amount of your deductible.
• Your insurance company can provide you with detailed information about your deductible. They’re required to answer your questions and make the information easy to find.
• Your deductible can vary based on the medical procedure, test, or treatment.
• The deductible on your plan might change from one year to the next. It’s important to get the latest information from your company.
2. Shop around. You already know that shopping around is important before you buy a house, car, or shoes. Likewise, you can save money by shopping around for medical services as well! If you have a high medical deductible, look for doctors, clinics, and hospitals that offer lower cost services.
• Some providers lower their rates for lower income patients. Many give you a discount when you pay cash.
• You may even want to consider traveling to another city or state for affordable care.
3. Check individual billing rules. Each health care provider has their own billing rules and practices. They may take partial payments. You never know what may be available until you ask.
• If you have a high deductible, your doctor may be willing to work with you on payment arrangements. So you can break that high deductible down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
• If they won’t make payment arrangements, you may be able to use a credit card to pay for it, and you’ll pay the creditor the smaller chunks instead of the doctor, clinic, lab, or hospital.
• In addition, you may qualify for Care credit. Individual hospitals and clinics may have their own lines of credit.
4. Consider charity care. If a high medical deductible can lead to a financial crisis, you may qualify for charity care. Charity care usually requires an application form with detailed information about your finances.
• Charity care is designed to help low-income individuals and families.
• It can cover the entire cost of a medical bill or offer partial payment help.
• This type of help is available from both individual hospitals and charities. Check with your medical providers and local government or charitable organizations to see if they have such a program.
5. Negotiate your bills. A medical bill is not always set in stone. You can often negotiate the amount and payments.
• Your insurance company may not help you with negotiations, and it probably won’t let you negotiate a high medical deductible. However, you can negotiate directly with the hospital or doctor on your own.
6. Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA). A Health Savings Account enables you to save money for medical expenses directly from your paycheck every month tax-free! As your HSA savings grow, you’ll have the funds available to pay for a high medical deductible. Your employer may even be able to contribute to your account.
A high medical deductible can put your life and family in jeopardy, as well as your financial future. It’s important to be aware of your options. The last thing you need when you have a health issue is a financial crisis as well. Take advantage of these strategies and save money, time, and stress.