Even if you don’t follow politics, it’s hard to get away from what the pundits on television call “the healthcare debate.” Every day it seems like the country’s health care system is being used as a pawn by some politician or another. The GOP has been threatening to repeal the Affordable Care Act since its inception completely. The Democrats are moving steadily toward a unified “Medicare for All” healthcare platform. In the meantime, it is everyday citizens who are left wondering: what happens if I get sick? How much will care cost, and how am I going to pay for that?”
Whatever your political leanings may be, we can all agree that healthcare is expensive. Even if you have a great insurance plan, costs add up, and they add up fast! Even the most fastidious budgeter among us can get hit with a medical bill they weren’t prepared to get and don’t know how they’ll pay for.
Sounds super gloomy and doomy, right? Here’s some good news: There are options available that will help you keep your head above the proverbial water. Here are some that we like the best.
Practitioner Provided Payment Plans
It’s 2019, and every doctor and health practitioner currently practicing understands that insurance rarely covers all of the costs incurred during a patient’s treatment. It is all too common for patients to need help with medical bills after insurance. This is why many healthcare practitioners are partnering with outside companies to help set up payment plans and lines of credit for their patients. These outside companies often offer better interest and monthly payment rates than you’ll find if you try to use traditional forms of credit to cover these expenses. This is why you should ask your doctor about their office’s payment plan options before you talk to a bank or traditional loan officer.
We’ve all seen them: the posts on social media asking for donations to help a friend cover their medical bills after a health emergency or an accident. There are many reasons to choose this route if you’re stuck with a huge bill after your treatment. The best reason to choose crowdfunding is that whatever donations you get are just that: donations. They do not require repayment. You will not be charged interest on them. You might be charged a small processing fee by the crowdfunding you choose to use, but that is minuscule compared to what you’d pay to a regular creditor. How much you receive will be based on your network, not your credit.
That said, if you’re worried about asking for a handout (and many people reading this probably are) or feel bad about it, crowdfunding gives you a way to compensate your donors for their generosity. You can offer a variety of rewards in exchange for their donations. These rewards can be in the form of art, favors, etc. Be careful, though! It’s tempting to create rewards based on what you think or hope you’ll be able to accomplish. Instead, try to be realistic. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than over-promise and under-deliver! Obviously, these rewards are optional, but they can help you feel better about asking for donations, and they provide an incentive for your network to donate as much as they can!
Nobody should have to declare bankruptcy or ruin their credit because they cannot afford to pay for healthcare. Everybody agrees on that. Even so, healthcare is expensive–so much so that even the best insurance plans don’t cover everything. This is why it’s important to know what your options are before you get sick or are involved in an accident. We’ve shared two of those options here. We’re betting that, if you get creative, you can probably think of a few more. Share your ideas with us!