Have Huge Medical Bills? Get Crafty with Your Payments

by Vincent King · 3 comments

Medical bills

How many times have you skipped a doctor visit you needed because you didn’t have health care coverage?

After all, your shoulder hurts, but you can live with it, right? There’s no point in going to the doctor just so he can tell you about x-rays, meds, and therapy that’ll likely cost a few grand.

Paying medical bills when you don’t have insurance can be tricky. Sometimes, even having coverage doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford big ticket procedures.

With or without medical coverage, health care costs are high. Furthermore, bills can damage your credit if you accrue medical debt and don’t try to clear it out. Ruined credit could mean prevent you from finding a better job or affording a new car.

When needs arise, skipping the doctor or not getting treatment shouldn’t be a viable option. You must find a way to pay.

Making sure you can pay for health care becomes a bit of a dance; you’ve got to have the right moves to make it happen. This is where creative bill-paying comes in handy.

5 Ways to Get Crafty with Your Medical Repayment

1. Groupon

Yes, you read that right. Groupon offers procedures at a discounted rate. Be aware that if you go into an office with a coupon from Groupon, there’s likely a hard sell on the other side of that door. An appointment for x-rays and special cleanings may be the intended sell, even though the coupon is for a “regular” cleaning. Doctors and nurses will try to convince you to get the “upgraded” service, rather than the the basic. By standing firm and not giving in to the pressure, you could save good money on things like dental and vision.

2. Crowdfunding

GoFundMe.com and GiveForward.com allow you to campaign for donations toward your medical bills. This may not work if you need to pay off that last $1,000 for your broken arm, but it’s been extremely helpful for people in devastating situations. People have raised thousands of dollars for patient care, or for terminally ill people in need of a quality-of-life trip to a resort or spa.

3. Medical tourism

Medical tourism is the practice of leaving the country to have medical work done more affordably in other parts of the world. My wife did this when she needed dental work that we didn’t have the money to get done here. She visited family in Europe and had the dental work done there (yes, it was even cheaper after factoring in the flight).

When choosing your country, do your research. You want to make informed decisions about the doctor you’ll be visiting, the type of work you need done, and the expenses you’ll incur for the trip. It helps even more if you have connections in that country and can stay with them for free.

4. Get financial aid

Most hospitals offer some form of sliding-fee assistance for those with restricted incomes. In some cases, there are special programs that allow lower fees in exchange for services. In Brooklyn, NY, the Artist Access Project allows artists to pay reduced fees if, in return, they provide artistic therapeutic services for patients who need them.

5. Haggle

For those more expensive procedures, you can often negotiate for lower prices, or even shop around to find a better price. Let your provider know that you’re going to get it for a lower cost somewhere else, and they may agree to meet that price.

Being creative about your medical bills means no more skipping doctor’s visits, because you’ll be able to save money and still get the necessary work done.

What tips do you have for getting crafty with your medical bills? 

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee April 4, 2013 at 8:36 am

I have a hard time imagining any of my medical providers accepting a Groupon coupon, but I’ve never used a Groupon coupon. Does anyone have experience using a Groupon coupon on a medical service?

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@pfinMario April 4, 2013 at 9:20 am

I love this post. Most people treat medical procedures as completely inflexible; that is, their starting point seems to be that they’ll simply accept whatever price is the first told to them by the first person they ask when it comes to their health.

However, I like that your starting point is that there’s nothing you shouldn’t hustle on.

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Property Marbella April 5, 2013 at 3:51 am

U.S. must introduce free hospital care. The U.S. government will save more if people are healthy than for everybody to be sick.

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