I’ve chatted about being uninsured on the blog in the past. It can set you back if you wind up needing to go to the emergency room or require any other type of health care. For instance, last year I learned I’d need all four of my wisdom teeth out (they are still in my mouth as you read this). Many hospitals and doctor’s offices require upfront payment, but there are options for the uninsured.
Payment Options for the Uninsured
Believe it or not, there are multiple payment options for the uninsured. I’ve come across the following ways to help resolve your medical debt.
- Look into a Care Credit card. Although I typically wouldn’t suggest adding any debt to your personal finances, it can be a necessary evil, especially when it comes to your health. If there is an emergency and you truly don’t have the money, a Care Credit card can provide a remedy. Best of all, if you pay it off within the designated period, you won’t have to pay interest.
- When you get your bill, give the office a call. Any time I get a medical bill in the mail, I call the office to verify all of the information and set up a plan to pay it off. Most billing offices will set up a payment plan for you.
- Ask about an in-office payment option. Before you leave the doctor, chat with the reception desk about a payment plan right away. You may even be able to put some money towards your visit right away.
Ask About a Discount
If the payment options don’t quite fit your budget, ask about a discount for uninsured patients before you receive the doctor’s services. Sometimes they will give you a discount because you don’t have insurance.
During a recent visit to the ER here in Atlanta, I asked about this. They required a $250 copay for uninsured individuals. However, once I got my bill, I also saw that (because I was uninsured) a 70% discount was applied to my visit.
Consider Going to a Clinic
Another thing for uninsured people to consider is going to a clinic. Some clinics are privately owned and able to give people more of a break when it comes to the cost of their visit.
I went to a local clinic for an emergency allergic reaction a couple months ago. The visit cost $150 upfront and they offered treatment a-la-carte. I needed two steroid shots, which cost $80 each. If I had gone to the emergency room or doctor’s office, this would have likely cost more than $1,000. Instead, I paid cash day-of and didn’t have to worry about it after that.
Be Sure to Communicate With Bill Collectors
Lastly, when all is said and done, it is important to communicate with the billing offices. This goes for medical and non-medical bills. Getting on the phone with them and discussing your payment options or what you can do to resolve your bill will be the best thing you can do for yourself. If you don’t, it will wind up in collections and killing your credit in the long-run
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.