Ways to Manage Medical Costs

It is challenging to determine how many Americans are in a financial crisis because of medical costs. Some politicians have said that medical bills cause half of the American bankruptcies. Other statistics say that hospital bills caused only four percent of such bankruptcies. If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, and you have overwhelming medical debt, you may find yourself looking at the PA bankruptcy laws to see if this is an option of getting rid of your medical debt for good. But there may be other options.

Talk to your doctor about your medications

Your pharmaceutical bill can be causing your financial crisis. If the medicine that you need to survive is causing financial ruin, talk with your pharmacist. See if there are generic options available that have the same active ingredients as the more expensive one you are taking. Ask the staff at your doctors’ office if they can recommend a mail-order medicine service that would save you money. Finally, check with the doctor to see if there are natural supplements that can be taken to achieve the same result.

Use a Health Care Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account

For those who have a large portion of their income go to health care costs, starting a HAS or FSA would be a prudent decision to make. Both accounts are designed for people to set aside money for health care expenses.  A person is eligible to open an HAS if he or she has a high-deductible health plan. There are no eligibility requirements for an FSA. If you open an HAS, your unused balances can roll over into the next year, but the money that is unused in your FSA at the end of the year will be forfeited. Why open these accounts? What is the benefit? For an HAS, the contributions are tax deductible, and the amount is taken out of your pay pre-tax. FSA contributions are also pretax. Talk with your employer on the maximum amounts that you can contribute to these accounts each year.

Find the money for your medical bills

Perhaps your medical bills aren’t as overwhelming as you first thought. While the shock of seeing statements arrive in your mailbox each month is nerve-racking, perhaps with careful financial maneuvering and scrutiny, you will be able to find the money to pay off the bills on your own. Look at your budget and see which items can be slashed. If you don’t have a budget, start one.

Reach out to your medical provider

Often, hospitals and doctors’ offices will allow patients to set up a payment plan to pay for your medical expenses. Before visiting an attorney about bankruptcy, see if this is an option for your situation.

Speak with the financial office to see if you can negotiate the charges. Perhaps your bill can be reduced, which would make monthly payments more affordable.

Do not pay your medical bills with a credit card

Finally, one way to get into more financial trouble is to pay your medical bills with a high-interest credit card. Avoid this practice at all costs.