Most significant medical events happen when we least expect them, and tend to follow the old adage – if it rains, it pours. While there’s never a great time to deal with a medical emergency, these situations can be made worse without a plan of action.
The cost of healthcare, even with insurance is significant—a heart attack, for example, will run you an out of pocket cost of about $14,200. Studies indicate that Americans are coming up with the funds by emptying emergency funds, savings accounts, and the pockets of friends and family. These situations are not ideal, and can be lessened with a bit of planned action.
First, negotiate for more coverage if your chosen physician is out of your insurance network, as many specialists may be. Your doctor might be willing to accept the in-network rate for his or her services, which will save you a lot in extra fees. You might also work with your insurance provider to negotiate a deal in which they’ll allow the outside provider. If you can prove that there are no specialists in your area or that they’ve performed the procedure less than your chosen doctor, you might have a shot at getting them covered as an in-network physician. Remember that many insurers will pay for a second opinion too—don’t be afraid to seek one out.
Next, bring up any financial concerns you may have with your doctor. Patients who are willing to ask for lower prices often get them. The treatment you will receive is the same, but you may be able to get it covered at a lower cost. You may also learn about alternative treatments that offer the same result for a lower cost.
Next, remember to keep the lines of communication open when dealing with your place of work. You may not want to disclose your illness until you’ve developed a plan for treatment, but you will want to inform them when it’s appropriate, as you’ll get 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Your particular office may offer something better—three to six months of paid leave is relatively normal, though your pay may be cut by 25% or so. Many workplaces have employee assistance programs, which may cover things like in-home help, mental health visits, and phone support.
This may also be the time, if you haven’t already, to invest in real estate that can provide passive income. See any of the Jason Hartman blogs for some great investment advice if that sounds like a solution for you—and remember that even bad financial situations eventually get better. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mercyhealth/5783246104/)
* Read more from Young Wealth
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The Young Wealth Team