Everyone has heard at least one horror story about a comfortable, well-off family who was made bankrupt by unexpected medical bills that decimated their savings and their credit score amongst other things. But getting ill does not have to mean financial hardship if you are careful and prudent with your medical needs. Follow this advice to avoid unexpected health bills:
The first item on this list is easier said than done and is not always possible, but try to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Eat wholesome real foods, stay properly hydrated – many people do not recognize the signs of dehydration while lack of water can cause severe symptoms and worsen many conditions. Make sure you get enough sleep, and undertake enough activity each day for your body to feel energized and gently stretched. This may seem a little bit new age, but if everyone ate right, drank enough water, and slept appropriately, the medical profession would almost instantly be approximately one-third less busy!
Keep Tabs On Your Doctor
Even if your doctor were approved by your medical insurers when you first signed up with them, they could well have had a parting of ways since your last visit. Sometimes the practice will send out letters letting you know that they have parted ways with the insurer network, or the receptionist will mention it when you phone or call in to make an appointment but they are under no obligation to do so and might let you make and attend an appointment – leaving you with an unexpected and uncomfortably large medical bill arriving through the mail a few days later! Get into the habit of checking that they are still covered by your insurer before you commit yourself to any treatments!
A word of caution too, the insurer’s online directory of suppliers may not be completely up to date, so even if your doctor is named there, make a point of checking with the practice too!
When you are going on holiday, make sure you take out specific travel coverage, or speak to your insurer about approved providers in your holiday destination. No one wants to fall ill or get injured on holiday, but it does happen – and getting a large and unwelcome bill on top of that would just add insult to literal injury!
Should you need an operation you will need to plan it out carefully. If you are very ill, have someone you trust do the talking and negotiating on your behalf, and make it clear at every stage that you want all provision to be approved by your insurer, from the hospital to the surgeon to the anesthetist and everyone in between – or discussed with you in advance. You can arrange to have your medicines supplied by a more budget-friendly provider, such as International Pharmacy. Some doctors, especially specialists, have stepped away from insurance company contracts and will bill you separately, so make sure that your care plan is designed around your insurance cover. If you need any treatment outside the insurance plan, ask for quotations beforehand and negotiate to ensure they are as low as possible!