How to Avoid Costly Hospital Bills

Hospital BillMillions of people are still uninsured or under-insured even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unemployment, temporary work, low wages and high co-pays prevent people from enrolling for the ACA, but if a medical emergency happened, could they afford the bill?

The ACA was introduced to give access to medicine for those least able to afford it. The act outlawed the practice of refusing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Most people received aid from the ACA, but some have still fallen through the cracks. The unemployed, ill or disabled may not be able to afford even the cheapest policy. Sadly, policies with the most affordable premiums also have a greater number of out-of-pocket expenses.

Patients Drowning in Bills They Can’t Pay

A hard-working nurse faced a $100,000 medical bill when she had mini-strokes, migraines, and trips to the ER. The hospital reduced it to $32,000 because of her low income – but she already had a previous $22,000 bill that she was paying off at $650 a month.

Despite working three 12 hour shifts a week, one employer told her she hadn’t worked enough to qualify for insurance.

In another case, a 60-year-old man faced a $2,691.50 bill for a two-mile ambulance ride when he passed out at the doctor’s office. Even with insurance, his out-of-pocket charges were more than $770.

Situations like this lead some people to conclude they’d rather avoid medical care and not take out insurance. But what would they do in a life-threatening emergency?

Ways to Save Money on Healthcare

  • The ACA Marketplace – Patients can get help with affordable care act enrollment to find the right policy for their needs. Low premiums are attractive but don’t always offer the best coverage.
  • Medicaid – Depending on location and income, patients may be entitled to Medicaid.
  • Charity applications – Some charities and hospitals have a fund they can tap into to help patients in financial need.

Medical care is expensive but going without insurance can be a costly mistake. Assistance is available for patients who can’t afford the bill.