6 Alternatives To Paying Medical Bills Without Health Insurance
Before you jump into this decision of not availing any type of health plan, make sure you know you are prepared financially and mentally should a health emergency arise. Medical procedures can be costly nowadays so you have to keep in mind that if you choose to go live by without health insurance, you will be responsible for paying 100% of your medical expenses. In some ways, considering a health insurance is cheaper than encountering an accident. Monthly premiums will prove their worth should that time ever come.
If you are considering on looking into some health insurance plans, you can check through the Affordable Care Act and enroll for the plan you find suitable.
1. Compare Prices Among Health Institutions
Different doctors and hospitals charge varying fees for their services. You can do your research and “window shop” by calling around and comparing prices for the different health care providers. Keep tabs of each of their prices and write each of them down as reference if ever you would need to visit a doctor or a hospital. Some urgent care facilities charge lower than others. Hospitals also have varying prices on the same procedure. If you’re not currently bound to a certain network, it’s worth picking up the phone and making those calls so you can find out which care providers charge the lowest.
2. Request Reduced Rates or Pay in Advance
There are a lot of doctor’s offices that charge a lower price for those who do not have insurance. However, you have to proactively ask for this discount. Some doctors and hospitals can offer you a reduced rate if you pay in advance.
One example would be paying in advance for baby delivery. You would be given a discount unlike when you pay after the service.
In some cases, the option to pay in advance is available for medical tests or specific surgeries.
Additionally, since an emergency cannot be anticipated, this method of payment is not applicable for sudden health problems.
3. Call and Pay In Cash
Paying in advance definitely does wonders to saving a significant amount of money when it comes to health care. Should there be a time for you to pay a hospital bill, it can be effective to call up the hospital immediately to set up a payment method. Hospitals can offer you a lower price to pay if you decide to pay in full immediately. If you are liquid enough to settle the payment immediately, call up the hospital. However, if your money is not enough yet, then it’s also a wise decision to call them just to set up a payment plan. Avoid delaying your plan to call as much as possible. Hospitals will send you to a collection agency in as fast as 90 days. You may find that dealing with a collection agency is more work than dealing with the hospital, so take note of this.
4. Thrift on Medications
There are some doctors who give free samples upon issuing you a prescription. Capitalize on those and keep them. You can also opt to purchase generic versions of medications instead of the branded ones at the pharmacy or from your doctor. Look into a prescription assistance programs as well and see if you qualify for those. These are sponsored by some drug companies, doctors, non-profit organizations, and state governments. They can help you with your medications by offering you affordable prices for them. You can also look around for pharmacies that sell the same
medications for a lower price. Check Walmart’s list of medicines that they sell for about $4. See if the medications you need are listed down there.
5. Open Up A Savings Account for Covering Medical Expenses
You have to proactively save money if you choose to go by without health insurance. Save up a portion of your income for medications and other health care expenses. Try setting aside at least $100 every month for future expenses on medical care. If you’re not liquid enough and a serious illness or accident happens, you might as well declare bankruptcy. So as much as possible, we would want to avoid that.
6. Consider Getting Insurance
As you may have noticed, there is no true alternative to health insurance unless you are very wealthy. Perhaps you may want to consider at least applying for a high deductible health plan, commonly referred to as HDHP. These are health plans that offer low monthly premiums but come with high deductibles. If you know your body to be healthy enough and if you notice yourself not frequenting the doctor due to absence of health problems, this plan is perfect for you. Just make sure you have enough money to cover for the premiums and deductibles.
Keep in mind that this is one of the most practical options of health insurance a relatively healthy person can buy due to the low monthly premiums. At least the event of a health emergency, you will have your peace of mind because you are protected by insurance.
Once you decide to apply for HDHP, you can open up a tax-advantaged savings account, also called a health savings account (HSA). Through this, you can save more money due to the tax-free or tax-reduced offered. HSA also allows you to contribute toward your deductible free of interest charges.
Overall, this list can sound quite disappointing if you’re one who has really decided on going without health insurance. It’s completely your personal choice whether you would want to go by with or without it.