Every year, there are over 131 million emergency room visits, and over 18 million of them result in hospital admissions. You might feel like you’re in good health now, but all it takes is an instant for everything to change. Then, you’re easily part of the statistics.
If you have a medical emergency, would you be able to cover the expenses at this very moment? If the answer’s “no”, then it’s time to reevaluate your finances and figure things out. Otherwise, you’ll have a huge burden over your head while also suffering from health issues.
Read on to see what you can do to pay for medical emergencies so you’re prepared.
Receiving hefty medical bills can be a shock to the system. But before you panic, check that there are no errors first. Around 80% of medical bills are erroneous, so there’s a good chance that yours is.
If you haven’t received an itemized bill, then ask for one. Go through each line and highlight any that seem questionable. Next, contact your medical provider to have them explain those to you, then correct any mistakes if there are any.
This might not work for everyone, but it’s still a great step to take. You never know if you can drastically reduce your medical expenses and relieve some financial anxiety.
Many people don’t know this, but you can actually negotiate your medical bills, even if every item is correct. In fact, the majority of patients who have taken action get a lower bill or even have their entire amounts waived!
It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if you show the hospital that you’d have difficulty paying, you’d be surprised at what they’ll do for you. Also, the Affordable Care Act dictates that nonprofit hospitals must partially or fully reduce bills for low-income patients. So if you qualify, it can be a tremendous help.
Otherwise, if you have enough money to pay the full amount, ask for a discount when paying by cash or check. It’s a win-win situation; you’ll pay less, and the hospital doesn’t have to pay credit card processing fees, plus they’ll get the full amount immediately.
After looking for billing errors and negotiating, you might still find the amount to be too high. If you can’t pay off everything at once, then the next step is to work out a repayment plan.
The good news is, most medical providers will give you a reasonable term to pay back your balance. In addition, they’ll have either low or no-interest plans. This will make it much easier for you to eliminate your medical debt.
Dealing with a gigantic medical bill can be overwhelming, and it’s natural to want to escape. One way to do so is to ignore the bills, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Eventually, your debt will be sent to collections. As a result, you’ll get debt collectors calling you constantly, asking you to pay up. And with enough time, it’ll drop your credit score, which can make it more difficult to get loans, lines of credit, etc., in the future.
You’re not the only person to struggle with medical emergencies, so there are definitely nonprofit organizations that exist to help people like you.
Do a local search, and you’ll find ones that’ll assist with not only paying medical bills, but prescription drug ones too. And if they aren’t able to, they usually have a list of other resources you can use.
Plus, you can get assistance from credit counseling agencies. They can help you negotiate a lower bill and a feasible repayment plan.
Another place to look is with groups like the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy and the Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals.
Keep in mind that you may have to pay for some of these services. However, spending a little now can be worth it when you can save in the long run.
Credit cards can be a lifesaver in emergencies, but it’s best if you avoid using them if possible. Most have high interest rates, so if you’re not able to pay the balance off quickly, you’ll accrue lots more debt.
Even worse is, if you miss a payment, it’ll immediately have a negative impact on your credit score. In addition, your interest rate will shoot up.
You should only use credit cards for medical emergencies if you’re certain you can make the minimum payments and the balance in full promptly. You can also use them if you sign up for new ones that have a 0% interest introductory rate.
A personal loan may be a good way to tackle unexpected medical expenses. There are several types available, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
In general, there are two types: secured and unsecured.
Secured loans are backed by collateral, so you’d put something like your car up. Because the lender doesn’t take on as much risk with collateral, you’re rewarded with a lower interest rate, and you can borrow more money too. There are lower eligibility requirements too, so there’s a higher chance you’ll get approved.
However, the main disadvantage is that if you can’t repay the loan, the lender takes your collateral. So you need to make sure you pay your secured loan back on time. Also, lenders often dictate how you can use the money.
You don’t need to put up collateral with unsecured loans, so you might feel more comfortable with this option. You’re also free to use the money however you’d like.
But they have higher interest rates, and you need to have a good credit score to qualify. Plus, many charge origination fees, which can be up to 10% of the loan amount, and you won’t be able to get as big a sum.
If you default on either type of personal loan, your credit score will take a dive. So don’t take out any amount you aren’t certain you can repay.
Payday loans are actually a type of unsecured personal loan, but they deserve their own section since they’re unique.
They have a bad rep, but the reality is, if you have a stable job, and are sure you can pay back the balance, then these loans can save you from a sticky situation.
One of the benefits of payday loans is you’ll get money immediately, whereas, with traditional personal loans, you’ll have to wait for approval, then disbursement. Also, you don’t need a good credit score; current employment is all you need.
There are no prepayment penalties associated with payday loans either. Other personal loans may penalize you for paying your debt off early, but not here. So despite the fact that these loans come with extremely high interest rates, it won’t matter much if you clear the balance fast.
If you’ve tried everything you can, then the last resort can be declaring bankruptcy.
However, you shouldn’t make this decision lightly. It can have long-lasting consequences on your daily life; for example, it’ll be near impossible to get new credit, and some employers won’t even hire you.
After thinking it over carefully, you may still want to declare bankruptcy. In that case, the law requires you to follow some steps to ensure it’s the right choice and that it won’t happen again. More specifically, you’ll need to complete a credit counseling session, in which you’ll discuss alternatives before declaring bankruptcy.
It’s best if you hire a lawyer, as they’ll have experience dealing with cases like yours. It’ll be easier to navigate the legal system with their help, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ve filed everything correctly.
A medical emergency can change your life in an instant. Not only do you have to deal with a health issue and healing, but there’s often a massive bill to pay too. When everything’s stacked on top of one another, it can be emotionally challenging to get through each day.
But if you know your options for paying medical expenses, then that should hopefully ease your mind a little. As a result, you’ll take the right steps to eliminate debt and focus on healing.
Want to take out a personal loan already? Then apply with Fast Loan Direct now or read some facts about applying for instant loans online.