Friday, April 19, 2024

I Need Surgery But Can’t Afford It

Medical Debt: What To Do When You Cant Pay

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People often feel ashamed of their medical debt, seeing it as a personal failure. In fact, it’s more of a mass affliction.

Americans are estimated to collectively owe as much as $140 billion in outstanding medical debt. Lack of insurance and a steadily increasing cost of health care are the two main culprits behind the growing medical debt problem.

What if you can’t pay your hospital bills? What if you have accumulated medical debt and have no way of paying it on time? On both accounts, the consequences can be serious.

People may forego the care they need, including doctor appointments, tests, treatments, and prescription medications, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy analysis nonprofit. They may struggle to pay other bills, deplete savings, damage their credit, and even declare bankruptcy.

Tips For Reducing The Cost Of Your Medical Procedure

When you hear that you need a procedure like a colonoscopy or a spine surgery, one of your first thoughts is probably how will I afford that? The cost of your medical procedure may even determine whether you get it or not.

Youre not alone. Many Americans have trouble affording the medical procedures they need. Patients with health insurance worry about how theyll afford their deductible, while uninsured patients are concerned about whether theyll be able to pay for the total cost of your medical procedure out-of-pocket.

While there are many moving parts that affect the cost of healthcare in the United States, one thing is certainpatients who need care should be able to get it, without worrying about how theyll pay.

Heres a closer look at how you, as a patient, can reduce the cost of your medical procedure while still getting high-quality care.

A Stronger Body Immune System I Need Weight Loss Surgery But Cant Afford It

A healthy lifestyle can assist to increase your body immune system and make you less likely to get sick. An outstanding start is eating a well balanced diet and getting a lot of exercises. Both of these things help to keep your body strong and healthy. In addition, taking supplements such as vitamin C and E can likewise assist to improve your immune system. I Need Weight Loss Surgery But CanT Afford It

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How To Finance Your Plastic Surgery

Some people who want to have plastic surgery worry that they won’t be able to afford the costs and so they end up waiting and missing their optimum window of time to go under the knife. That may mean they skip out on surgery during a period of great health, or they simply put it off for too long in order to look their best for the holidays or a special event. So many different types of people get plastic surgery and many of them are just like you. The truth is that many patients who think they cant afford a plastic surgery procedure definitely can as long as they use one of these three easy financing methods.

Financial Assistance: Paying For Surgery Without Insurance

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If you need surgery and have no insurance, the one sure way to get financial assistance is to connect with a third party with deep pockets legally required to pay the expenses.

Looking for grants, free services, clinical trials, makeover contests, medical students, loans for the unemployed, and charitable organizations might make only a tiny dent in your costs or waste your valuable time.

Instead, recognize that federal laws ensure that most patients never have to worry about affording surgery without insurance. You have multiple pathways to make this problem go away: except for cosmetic procedures.

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If You Need Help Paying For Surgery Without Insurance

If youre wondering how to get help paying for surgery without insurance the good news is some hospitals may offer payment plans. The best way to handle this is by asking the hospitals billing department before your surgery, but this may not always be possible if you have an emergency procedure. In emergency cases, the hospital may want to work with you to establish a payment plan to cover the costs. Its very important to address this as soon as youre able to so the hospitals billing department knows an alternate payment option has been established for you. This will prevent any issues down the line, such as the involvement of a collection agency.

Create A Sliding Fee Scale

One way you can offer a financial break to both low income and self-pay patients is to create a sliding fee schedule. Basically, this type of fee schedule provides a discount based on a familys income in comparison to the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Here’s an article where I go into more detail: 13 Steps to Creating a Sliding Fee Scale

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Negotiate Your Medical Bill

While its ideal to reduce the cost of your procedure before you get the bill, this doesnt always happen. Thats where negotiating comes in. This can seem like a scary process but doctors, facilities, and insurance companies are used to having patients negotiate their medical bills. There is almost always room for negotiation, too. It can take time and patience to negotiate but you could save thousands of dollars on your healthcare in the long run.

Since most providers and facilities would rather get partial payment than no payment at all, you can start the negotiation process with them. Below are some negotiating tips you can use with your doctor or their billing department:

If you have a health plan, you can also talk to your insurance company. While they wont give you a discount, they may be able to help you spotand correctdiscrepancies in your bill.

Payment Plans For Surgery

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Some surgeons and hospitals offer payment plans for their services. Payment plans are most commonly offered when your surgery is routinely paid for by the patient instead of an insurance company.

A hysterectomy is almost universally covered by insurance, so surgeons who specialize in hysterectomy might not offer a payment plan conversely, plastic surgery is almost never paid for by insurance, so the surgeon would be more likely to know about self-pay options.

In some cases, payment plans are a formal agreement that you will make monthly payments in order to pay for the expenses of your surgery. In other cases, the payment plan is a loan, but the hospital or surgeon is involved in the financial arrangements.

Some hospitals may offer a payment plan for their services, but the plan is a monthly pre-payment plan that is finished by the time surgery occurs.

In the case of an unplanned surgery or emergency surgery when the procedure is performed on an uninsured patient, hospitals are highly motivated to establish a payment plan with willing patients.

Monthly payments, even if they are not large, are more attractive to the billing department than no payments, and it may keep the debt from appearing on your credit report as a negative account.

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Stay Positive Stay On Track

Trying to find affordable health care for your family can be overwhelming. But you’ll feel better knowing your child’s health care needs are taken care of. Lots of kids are eligible for programs that provide free or reduced-cost care, even if their parents are working.

If you don’t know where to start, contact your local community health center or county health department and explain your situation. If they can’t help you, they can probably direct you to an organization that can. You can also call your state’s 211 Helpline, which offers free and confidential information about health care and other services.

High Deductible Health Plans

If you are struggling to find health insurance with monthly premiums you can afford, you might want to look into getting a high deductible health plan . An HDHP covers many of the same services as a standard plan, including costs for awful events that could otherwise bankrupt you, but it comes with a higher deductible. In exchange for lower bills each month, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket before the plan kicks in and pays for the rest.

The IRS sets upper and lower limits for plans to be defined as HDHPs. For the years 2020 through 2022, the deductible had to be at least $1,400 for a single person or $2,800 for a family. Any extra costs out of pocket for these plans would have been no more than $6,900 for a single person and $13,800 for a family, per year for 2020. These out-of-pocket limits increase to $7,000 for 2021 and $7,050 in 2022.

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Visit A Local Community Health Center

A federally funded community health center is another option for low-cost medical care for your kids. You can take your kids there for checkups, immunizations, treatment when they’re sick, dental care, prescription drugs, and mental health care.

You also can go there for complete care yourself, including when you’re pregnant and for substance abuse care if you need it.

These centers tend to offer medical care on a sliding scale based on your income. Depending on your situation, it could be free. These centers can help you get health insurance and usually will accept that insurance once you are enrolled.

To find one near you, visit the Department of Health & Human Services health center page and enter your zip code under “Find a Health Center.” Check the website of the center near you about services, costs, and hours and call ahead for an appointment. Some community clinics are only open on certain days or for limited times.

Rural health centers, which are similar to federally funded community health centers, serve families in rural areas. You can find one in your state by visiting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.

Also, visit the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics’ website to find a free or low-cost clinic. The U.S. has more than 1,200 free clinics, which are staffed by a volunteer workforce of doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, technicians, and other health care professionals.

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Financial Help For Surgery For Kids

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Insure Kids Now is a great resource for low-income working parents who dont have health insurance, or whose insurance doesnt extend coverage to their kids. Medicaid and the Childrens Health Insurance Program provide low-cost health insurance for children, and some cities, offer affordable health coverage for kids from low- and middle-income families. Each state has different eligibility rules see what the options are for yours.

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Even The Insured Often Can’t Afford Their Medical Bills

The debate over the future of healthcare is obscuring a more pedestrian reality: Insurance may handle most costs, but many Americans still need to turn to charity for help when they get sick.

A chance trip to Long Islands Adventureland amusement park just might have saved Cassidy McCarthys life. After Cassidywhose family calls her Cassiethen 4, complained about pain and nausea following a ride on the Ladybug rollercoaster, her dad, Daniel, a registered nurse, felt her stomach and discovered a small bump. A CT scan ordered up at a local hospitals emergency room revealed a kidney tumor.

It was another seemingly chance decision by Daniel McCarthy to sign on as a volunteer firefighter more than a decade ago that saved the familys finances in the wake of Cassidys diagnosis with cancer. As it turned out, that activity allowed him to ask The Heather Pendergast Fund, a foundation set up in 2009 to help out the families of Long Islands volunteer firefighters and EMS workers with their childrens medical expenses, to pay many of Cassidys medical bills.

I dont know how people who dont have resources do this. I dont. Many people work three, four jobs, and cant afford the time to volunteer in an organization like the fire department that would be able to help them. There are many people living out there that need help that cant find it, McCarthy says.

This article originally stated the location of the attack as Portland, Maine. We regret the error.

For Mental Health Services

If you want to start therapy or pick it back up but are worried about the price tag, Lande suggests using your medical insurance’s website to search for an in-network therapist. If you still can’t afford the cost of therapy, consider seeking out non-profits that help cover the costs, such as American Psychoanalytic Association and Mental Health America. If you are on Medicaid, your insurance covers therapy so long as you have a diagnosis and a medical prescription for a certain type of therapy, which your primary care doctor can provide. Another option: Sign up for virtual therapy appointments, which are often less expensive than in-person appointments, says Lande, and many organizations and companies offer these services to uninsured individuals. Regardless of insurance status, you can also look into providers who offer sliding-scale payment options, as the price of the services you’re seeking may be reduced depending on your income.

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‘i Can’t Afford Surgery In The Us’ Says Bargain Shopper

Sabriya Rice

  • The majority of medical tourists are uninsured
  • About 878,000 Americans will travel internationally for a medical procedure this year
  • Travelers should research the legal system of the country they are visiting
  • Patients should make sure overseas hospital they’re considering is accredited

See more on the risks of doctors and patients shopping for the lowest prices for health care on American Morning’s series “Prescription for Waste” tomorrow 6 a.m. ET

— When Godfrey Davies learned he needed surgery to remove polyps blocking his nasal airways, the self-described bargain shopper set out on a mission to find an affordable surgeon. He quickly learned a good deal is hard to find.

“The total numbers they were throwing at me were just incredible. I couldn’t believe it,” he says.

Davies, who is semiretired from his real estate business and uninsured, says he received estimates from two surgeons. When hospital, anesthesia and incidental fees were all tallied, the cheapest price he could find in Indianapolis, Indiana, was $33,127 — which he would need to pay out of pocket.

“I was speechless.” Davies recalls. “It was absolutely out of the question financially for me to have this done under those circumstances.”

Frustrated that his bargain shopping saved him so little, Davies called on family in the United Kingdom for assistance. When they told him they had found a private hospital in Wales that would perform the surgery for $2,930 , Davies didn’t think twice.

Evaluate And Eliminate Some Nonessential Expenses

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Binge-watching your favorite shows while recovering from an illness or injury sounds like good medicine. And so does listening to your favorite musicians on a music streaming service.

But its never a bad idea to evaluate how many youre subscribed to, how often youre using them and what they cost each month. You may be surprised how much youre spending each month and want to consider canceling some. You can always resubscribe once youre back on your feet.

Have you reviewed your mobile/wireless plan lately? You can save money by switching from an unlimited data plan to one with a smaller quantity.7 Also, a prepaid or a no-term cell phone plan might better meet your needs.

Other extras that you may consider eliminating include gym memberships, dining out at restaurants and frequent trips to the coffee shop.

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How To Find Affordable Health Care

Many kids in the United States aren’t covered by health insurance, or are covered by plans with high deductibles and limited benefits.

If your kids are among them because you can’t afford adequate coverage or your employer-sponsored plan doesn’t cover everything, don’t despair. Programs are available that provide affordable even free medical care and are designed to meet or supplement a person’s medical insurance needs.

Your kids could be eligible for coverage right now and you might not know it. Here are some options that may be available to your family.

Consider Saving Up Or Earning Extra Money

It may seem simple, but even cutting down on the number of coffees you purchase will help. Start by putting $10 per week into a piggy bank or savings account with your bank. When you have a little extra, you can add more.

Having that safety net means you do not need to worry if your dog gets injured or falls sick unexpectedly. Pet insurance is expensive and it is a fairly unregulated industry, so prices tend not to be competitive.

Monthly premiums also increase as your dog gets older. This is because older dogs are more likely to suffer from ill health, so insurance companies increase your premium to cover the money they may need to pay out in the event of a claim.

$10 per week adds up to $520 in a year. That covers flea and worm treatments and several basic care medications for mild conditions such as infections or stomach upsets. Even if your dogs condition is more serious, you still have a lump sum that you can pay your vet immediately. Most clinics will allow a grace period or some kind of payment plan for trusted clients who have always paid on time in the past.

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Ask About Financial Assistance Programs

You may qualify for help paying bills and even medical debt forgiveness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a state-by-state list of more than 100 financial assistance programs that help people with healthcare and medical expenses.

Many hospitals require you to apply for Medicaid to see if you qualify for government insurance for people with low incomes. Then, if youre not eligible for Medicaid coverage, you can apply for help with medical bills from the hospital. That application may include providing copies of pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and other financial documents.

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