First Aid Economics: How to Keep Major Medical Costs Down

What eats up the paycheck of a young family? Is it dining out? Possibly, but not if it’s McDonald’s over Olive Garden. Fuel? In the past the answer would be yes, but gas prices have been steady or fallen the last 18 months. Clothes? Not with so many discount stores and thrift outlets, not to mention the hand-me-downs your kids utilize.┬áThe answer is medical payments.

Even when young families meet their annual deductions it can still cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year to make sure everyone is healthy. Throw in a major medical situation, such as a surgery or lengthy hospital stay, and the amounts can skyrocket higher than the blood pressure of someone who just downed a cup of salt. And when your young family is on a strict budget, these costs can cause economic upheaval and, if not paid on time, damaged credit.

The good coming out of this is there are ways to make sure you not only know how much something will cost but percentage of the payment. Here are few things to consider in a major medical situation.

Get an estimate

The medical practice handling the major incident may be able to tell you ahead of time what the costs will be with or without insurance. Those connected with a hospital can probably give you estimated costs on an overnight stay as well as fees for pathology or anesthesia. Get these in writing if at all possible in case you need to fight these amounts in the future.

Contact your health insurance company

A call to your health insurance provider is mandatory before any type of major medical action is taken. This is done for two reasons. One, to make sure the procedure is covered within their organization or if it requires some type of prerequisite, such as certain medication. Two, you want to contact them to see where you are in your deductible, for while your individual one may have been met, the family deductible can still have money left over to pay. This means a higher bill after the procedure is completed.

Contact with your health insurance company is also important in an emergency where time is of the essence for a major medical procedure. Making sure they’re aware of the situation can help in the billing process and avoid potential problems once the statements start arriving in the mail.

Make payment arrangements

Regardless if your young family has health insurance or not, setting up a payment plan with the medical provider should be done while the procedure is taking place. This helps ensure that the monthly statements coming to your residence are manageable and can be fitted into the household budget. It also prevents potential arguments with the health care provider and calls from collection agencies.

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