Your health is your life; it wouldn’t be surprising if you felt you need to spend whatever it takes to maintain it. At the same time, you may have some concerns about getting hit with an extremely expensive bill for an unplanned medical situation.
Health care is one of the most common major expenses many Americans face. Health care can have a far-reaching physical and emotional impact, which could be magnified by financial concerns, especially if costs come up unexpectedly. And surprise medical expenses are more common than you might think. According to a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of American adults faced an unplanned major medical expense during 2018.
Medical debt (from expected or unexpected costs) can be a difficult challenge. Which procedures can you expect to be covered by insurance? How can you manage medical debt? Is a personal loan a good tool to help with existing or upcoming medical debt?
What Medical Procedures Can You Expect to Be Covered by Insurance?
Coverage plans from employers or private insurance can vary, but we can look to the Health Insurance Marketplace as an example of what can be covered by health insurance. Preventative services such as screenings and physicals usually have some form of coverage, as do emergency services.
It is possible that your doctor may suggest or you may want a procedure or treatment that you deem necessary but health insurance may declare nonessential. Depending on your insurance, some of these could include Lasik or plastic surgery, hearing aids, liposuction, acupuncture and hair transplants.
With this in mind, it’s good practice to do some research. Check with your health insurance company before undergoing any procedure. This will give you a clear idea if you will be covered or if you will be responsible for a portion or all of the cost. Ask all the questions. Does your insurance offer any kind of financial assistance? Can your doctor coordinate with other providers? For example, could multiple procedures be combined into a single event to save money on anesthesia costs, operating room expenses and recovery time in the hospital?
You hope to never run into a serious medical problem. And while health insurance can cover a significant portion of your medical expenses, you can’t assume it’ll protect you against all future medical debt.
Dealing with Medical Debt
If you’re uninsured or your health insurance doesn’t fully cover your bills, you’ll be responsible for the remainder. This could result in medical debt, which can add up quickly. How do you pay for something that’s important to you when the costs are high and insurance doesn’t cover it?
Begin with research (as mentioned above), then make a plan. Your plan should include how you manage your money. It’s best to have a clear financial picture when dealing with money matters, especially when you’re fitting medical expenses into a regular budget. Now it’s time to tackle the debt. Here are a few ways to deal with unplanned health care expenses:
- Start an emergency fund. The money you save in this account is to be used for emergencies only. In addition to medical debt, this can include things such as car repairs, home repairs or helping a loved one who has fallen on tough times. It will be a comfort to know this money is available should the need arise.
- Negotiate with the provider. Don’t hesitate to contact the provider on the phone to discuss your bill. You may find they’re willing to accept less than what you owe if you can immediately send a lump sum payment. Also, review your bill with them in great detail. It’s possible you could find a charge that shouldn’t be there.
- Setup a payment plan. If you don’t have enough money in the bank and the provider won’t negotiate on the final bill, you can always setup a payment plan. With this, you make small payments, month after month, until your balance is paid in full.
- Get a personal loan. Personal loans have many uses, and medical expenses can be among them.
Benefits of a Personal Loan for Medical Expenses
In the end, it’s all about your health; both in the physical sense and in terms of mental well-being. Using a personal loan can be a valuable tool to pay for medical costs to relieve stress on both fronts. Your mind is a big part of your body, after all.
Applying for a personal doesn’t take long and we have tools to assist you. If your application is approved, your funds can be sent as early as next business day after acceptance, and the repayment terms can be flexible. You can lock in a fixed rate and have a set payment amount per month. There’s also the potential to save more money on interest than you would with other payment options like a credit card.
A personal loan could be a very attractive option to help pay for a procedure that could significantly improve your health. Want to explore your options? Learn more about how to get a personal loan.