Whilst health insurance is by far the best way to protect yourself against high medical bills, it’s not the only way. There are lots of other ways to help pay for healthcare, whether it be borrowing money, saving up or taking advantage of discounts. Here are some of the main ways that you can slash your medical bills.
Consider a CareCredit card
Putting medical expenses on a standard credit card could be a little too costly for some people. A cheaper option could be to pay for a card from a company called CareCredit. These cards are interest free and can be used on all kinds of medical expenses as well as over the counter medicines, corrective eyewear from select opticians and even veterinary costs. However, you must spend at least $200 on them within a set period. They may also not be eligible to people with a low credit score.
Take out an emergency loan
An alternative to CareCredit could be a loan. Payday advance loans are ideal for those with low credit who need to pay for medical expenses quickly. There will be interest and usually you’ll be limited as to how much you can take out. Conventional personal loans could be better for those wanting to pay less interest, however you won’t be guaranteed the money immediately and may need a clean credit score. Shop around for loans to find the best option for you.
Set up an FSA
An FSA (Flexible Savings Account) is a special savings fund that can be used to pay for medical costs. It is usually set up by an employer who pays some of your wages into it each month. The wages that get paid into it are tax free. FSAs can be used to fund most forms of treatment as well as many household medical supplies such as plasters and bandages as well as some baby products and corrective eyewear. In most cases, they can even be used to provide healthcare for fellow family members. Money saved up can roll over to the next year, however there is a limit as to how much you can save up in these accounts.
Join groups that give you discounts
Joining certain groups may allow you discounts on medical expenses. Some gyms can offer medical discounts as an incentive for joining up. Farm Bureaus, an agricultural union group provided by each state, also offer huge discounts for joining them and you don’t even need to be a farmer to sign up. Look out for community groups and trade unions that could offer such medical perks. That said, you should also weigh up the membership fees and ensure that you’re getting more out of the group than simply a healthcare discount.
Shop around for treatment
We shop around for holidays. We shop around for sofas. Few of us think to shop around for medical treatment, despite it being just as advantageous. When it comes to medicine, you can usually pay less for forgoing the big brands and trying a generic brand medicine instead.
These medicines may not get the marketing that big brands do, but they’re often just as effective. As for in-house treatment, every clinic may charge differently even if they’re offering the exact same treatment. Whilst you may be tempted to visit the nearest hospital to you out of convenience, it could sometimes pay to try the next town along even if you do have to travel further to get there.
Pay in advance
In some cases, you may be able to lower costs of treatment by paying in advance. Obviously you won’t be able to do this in an emergency, but for scheduled appointments or surgery it can be worthwhile. Try ringing up clinics to enquire about this.
Get help from an advocate
In serious cases where you’re unable to cover medical costs, you may be eligible to receive help from an advocate. Medical advocates exist largely to help those that are unable to make decisions about their treatment or care. However, they also extend their help to those less fortunate who cannot afford healthcare. They may be able to negotiate pricing for you or enquire about other methods of treatment within your spending capacity.