Sometimes life has a way of throwing you a curve ball. Even when you are trying to live the comfortable life an unexpected medical emergency can strike and with it the expense of trying to get back on your feet.
Even if you have a health insurance card, the odds are that you are not covered for everything and this means that you are likely to be out of pocket a significant sum of money. So, the question becomes how do you keep your healthcare bills from destroying your life? Well, don’t worry as here are some tips.
Don’t Underestimate the Cost of Healthcare
While we are fortunate to have access to some of the best doctors and hospitals in the world, this access comes at a cost. For most Americans, this means paying almost double what the rest of the developed world pays for quality healthcare. What’s the lesson? Don’t underestimate the cost of healthcare – especially in the U.S.
For some, this might mean that they will travel to Canada, Mexico, or elsewhere for elective procedures as medical tourism has become a massive industry. But for the rest of us, it means that we need to have a plan in place for how to cope with unexpected medical expenses. While this plan should include insurance, it probably also means having some form of supplemental insurance, and even savings.
For some, it might also mean having access to help battle with insurance companies as many insurance companies hate to pay out on claims. For example, if you live in Michigan, then you might want a Detroit health insurance fraud attorney to fight for what you are due.
In addition, you don’t want to assume that Medicare will cover everything. In most states, the program only covers roughly 60 percent of healthcare costs and this means you will need to have a plan in place to pay for the other 40 percent. This is especially true for older Americans who are living on a fixed income.
Have a Plan
Sure, medical emergencies are by their nature difficult to forecast but for most people, the concern is not something which catches them out of the blue, rather is it a chronic ailment which with the right care can be treated without breaking the bank.
Sure, this also means that the cost of prescription drugs might come into focus, but these tend to be fixed (even if they are highly inflated) costs and this means you can either budget or look for lower-cost alternatives. This could be signing up for a prescription drug plan, using generic drugs, or looking at other treatment options which costs less.
Another part of having a plan is knowing what you are going to do if things don’t go as planned. This might include what you want to do if you are in certain situations and even where you are going to get the money to pay for your treatment.
Finding affordable comfort means first and foremost knowing your limits – even when it comes to healthcare and as such you want to make sure you have a plan.
Take Inflation Out of the Equation
While this might not be an option for everyone, anything you can do to reduce the bit of healthcare inflation on your finances will go a long way. This is important as research from PwC estimates that healthcare costs in the U.S. are currently growing by 6.5 percent. While this has come down slightly since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare-related inflation remains treble that of the broader economy.In fact, the only part of our lives where costs are going up as fast is higher education.
What can you do? The trick is to focus on investments which are relatively risk-free and will deliver returns of more than 6.5 percent per year. This could include investing in the very companies which you will turn to when you need healthcare services – in this way you are getting some of your money back on the other end.
Be a Smart Consumer
Granted, this can be hard when you have a medical emergency as you don’t have time for checking prices but in other cases, you want to be a smart healthcareconsumer. This starts with educating yourself about the condition you are facing, the treatment options, and, importantly, the costs.
Only in this way can you find ways to make sure your healthcare bills don’t destroy your life. If you are not sure where to begin, then challenge your doctors on why they are recommending a certain course of action – after all, their professional ethics require that they don’t do any harm, and this should apply to your bank account as much as your health.