On June 7th, I will be speaking to senior citizens about how to face monetary hardships at the Huntington Library [Register for the event here]! Post- retirement money management skills, budget development and debt and credit awareness as well as proven solutions to ease the financial stress seniors may face due to steep cuts in household income and dwindling social security/income will be the topic of the event! Many seniors are also concerned that they will not be able to afford the extra medicial costs that come with aging on top of the financial burdens they are already dealing with. Senior citzens are not alone, millions of Americans are faced with rising medical costs and are trying to learn to cope with the added costs of insurance premiums and medicial bills.
Since medical costs are a major problem for the millions of Americans unemployed and/or uninsured and even the insured Americans are facing large deductibles, what can you do to ease this burden on your own? According to an article in the New York Times, a study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011, an increase of 9% over the previous year.
Don’t let your medical expenses cause you to steer clear from visits to the doctor or necessary medical procedures.
Here are some tips to consider:
1) Negotiate. According to an article ABC News, it is important to know medical bills are never set in stone. Hospital bills typically include a number of service fees including X-rays and anesthesiology. Contact the different service providers, chances are one of them will help you out. Also consider being open and honest with your doctor about your financial issues. It may be personal but a doctor’s mission is to help their patients-- see if you can work out a lower cost with your doctor.
2) Be wary of specialty credit cards for medical, dental and vet bills. Some of these cards operate at a much higher interest rate. Read the fine print and confirm the terms before agreeing to accept one of these credit cards.
3) Arrange a payment plan. Most doctors and hospitals offer payment plans-- some even without interest. Agree on a plan you can afford and make sure you stick to it!
4) Be proactive! Stay on top of your health to avoid unforeseen and sudden doctor’s visit and bills. Make sure you keep up with your regular doctor visits. It may seem unnecessary if you’re feeling healthy, but this is the best way to maintain your health. Your doctor may notice changes to your health before you do and in many cases early detection of illnesses can be your best defense, both for your body and your wallet. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention!
5) Only go to doctors in your insurance’s networks. Going to doctors outside of your plan’s network can cost you a huge bundle that is all out of pocket. There are plenty of great doctors within your network, and even if you have to “shop around” to find one that best suits you, it will be completely worth it.
6) Stay healthy! Exercise daily and always eat healthy to maximize your health. Even just going for leisurely walks around your neighborhood is a great way to get some fresh air and work your muscles. Eat right, research preventive foods to help reduce medical risks.
We know some medical issues are out of your hands but in the just in case scenario, start an emergency medical fund. Contribute X amount of dollars each week or month to create a cushion for yourself and your family in the case of unexpected medical or dental issues should arise.
What do you do to cope with rising medical costs? Comment below and let us know!
Leslie H. Tayne, founder of The Law Offices of Leslie H. Tayne, P.C., assists consumers and individuals with the resolution of their unsecured debts. The firm's flexible and well established policies and procedures have helped thousands of individuals lead a debt-free life. For more information, call 1-631-470-8204 or visit www.attorney-newyork.com.