Although the passage of the Affordable Care Act has helped make insurance more accessible to U.S. citizens, our country’s healthcare system continues to bleed patients dry financially. This is particularly in the case of individuals dealing with long-term conditions, like cancer and various disabilities. So, whether you’re currently facing pressing health issues or you simply wish to get out ahead of ridiculous healthcare costs, there’s no time like the present to start exploring your options.
Buy Insurance Coverage
While it’s true that insurance coverage is far from an end-all solution to high medical costs, you’re certainly better off with it than without it. Fortunately, decent insurance plans are far more accessible to people of all income levels than they were in years past thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Simply visit the Healthcare Marketplace at Healthcare.gov and provide some basic information to find a bevy of plans that are comfortably affordable at your current income level. Some of the plans you come across may cost next to nothing – while some may be free entirely. Even if a plan doesn’t meet all the criteria you’re looking for, it’s better to be underinsured than uninsured in the U.S.
Consider Applying for Medicaid
If your financial resources are extremely limited, consider applying for Medicaid. A national health insurance program created to provide coverage to low-income individuals, Medicaid covers a wide range of medical procedures and prescription costs. However, since Medicaid qualifications vary from state to state, you’d do well to review your state’s respective criteria before applying. If you’re unclear on whether you qualify, pay a visit to your state’s Medicaid website or speak to someone at your local welfare office. Medicaid can prove particularly beneficial to parents, as it provides both them and their children with medical coverage.
Seek Treatment at Facilities That Offer Financial Aid
Many hospitals and medical facilities offer financial aid to patients who are uninsured or lack insurance coverage altogether. The catch is that many places won’t bring up the existence of these programs unless patients directly ask about them. To get out ahead of this, confirm that a medical facility offers financial aid before seeking treatment there. By confirming that financial aid is available – and that you qualify for it – in advance of seeking treatment, you can save yourself the stress of receiving exorbitant medical bills.
Compassionate financial assistance is particularly important for people battling long-term and/or life-threatening conditions. For example, if you’re on the hunt for prostate cancer treatment centers but lack proper insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to ask various facilities about financial aid options.
The extent of the financial aid tends to vary from place to place. Furthermore, a number of factors are taken into account when determining which patients are eligible for such aid. Depending on your financial situation and level of insurance coverage, you may receive a steep discount on medical costs or have certain costs waived entirely.
Additionally, some communities have clinics that provide a wide assortment of free healthcare services to low-income patients. So, if you ever find yourself in desperate need of affordable medical care, consider seeking out the nearest community clinic.
Negotiate with Healthcare Providers
Many hospitals, clinics and medical facilities are more flexible when it comes to billing than you may think. For instance, if you make a facility aware of the fact that you’re uninsured or underinsured, they may forgive a sizable chunk of your bill. You may also want to consider requesting a prompt payment discount. As the name implies, this practice involves receiving a significant discount on a medical bill in exchange for that bill being paid in an expedient fashion.
To call our profit-driven healthcare system frustrating would be an understatement. Whether you’re seeking treatment for a chronic illness or simply going in for a routine checkup, there’s a good chance you’ll be billed an exorbitant amount for whatever services were rendered. Even if you have health insurance, you may discover that your coverage doesn’t go as far as you’d like. While contending with unreasonable healthcare costs can be a headache, nipping high medical bills in the bud can be a great way to save yourself some stress. Anyone looking to stop excessive healthcare costs in their tracks should consider the measures discussed above.