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List: Posted: 12/10/10
There are a lot of things in this life that that we can't be certain of. Getting sick, however, is not one of them. If you become so sick that you go to a hospital, or if you suffer an accident and need emergency treatment, you'll have to pay for medical expenses if you live in the States. Financing a hospital visit is not easy, especially if you have to take unpaid sick leave from work and you aren't bringing home any income. There are some things you can do, though, to ease the financial pressure.
The first thing you should do when you receive your bill is to try to negotiate it before you worry about financing it. At the discretion of the doctor or hospital, you may be able to negotiate a reduction in your bill if you can provide valid proof of income (pay slips etc) to show that you earn less than the national poverty line (in 2010 the poverty line for a single person less than 65 years of age is US $11,161; the threshold for a family of four, including two children, is US $21,756). If you live under the poverty threshold line, you might be able to get your bill reduced, and therefore, you'd end up financing less. Always work with the hospital to form a payment plan.
When you're financing your hospital stay you should also be aware that most hospitals have programs that will pay for some or all of the expenses for you. They don't often mention them but they are there. Additionally, there are government programs that help people who are financing medical bills, such as Medicaid.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when financing medical bills is always read the bill, no matter how long it is. Make sure that the charges on there aren't for services you didn't have.
Trying to save money can be hard in this economy, but you never know when you may be financing medical bills. It’s strongly recommended by financing experts that you should try to save three to six months’ salary as an emergency reserve. This will make living much easier when you don;t have to worry about financing surprise medical costs.
Chris Lynch is a VA licensed health insurance agent serving Richmond.
The material in this article is for informational purposes only. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Local.com. See Additional Information