For those who have medical bills they can’t afford to pay, you are probably feeling worried and stressed. However, there is an excellent solution that can help. This is called healthcare crowdfunding. In this article, you will learn why fundraising for medical costs is essential, and various other options that can help you in paying your medical bills.
Crowdfunding is a simple and effective means to raise money to cover the overall cost of costly medical expenses and unexpected health emergencies. Crowdfunding simply involves reaching out to your supporters’ network, and asking for donations. By using top crowdfunding platforms, you can create mobile-responsive online donation pages that you can use to collect donations from family members, friends and friends of friends. Please understand the likelihood of raising funds from stranger donations is highly unlikely. Once you setup your campaign, which is basically a web-page, you invite people to visit the page by sharing its URL. Visitors come to the page and choose to donate. An important consideration is essentially all crowdfunding sites use Stripe to actually accept the donation, process the credit card transaction and manage the transferal of funds to the beneficiary’s personal account.
Now that you have an idea of why fundraising for medical costs is crucial, it’s time you learned something about out-of-pocket expenses. In general, out-of-pocket costs have to do with the percentage of your covered medical expenses. You should expect to incur these expenses within the course of a plan year. However, they usually only refer to in-network costs when it comes to essential health benefits. This is because there are no regulations set aside to cap the amount that individuals spend on out-of-network care. Also, insurers are not needed to cover services that aren’t regarded as essential health benefits.
Some examples of out-of-pocket costs include:
– Doctors or any other health care provider
– The cost of dental care, if your plan doesn’t include dental coverage
– Hospital charges such as medication and accommodation fees
You may also have to incur out-of-pocket costs when it comes to medical treatment:
– At a private hospital and in an emergency department
– Outside a hospital, e.g., for diagnostic tests and appointments
Generally speaking, any out-of-pocket costs that you incur will vary depending on:
– If you have treatment in or outside the hospital
– The amount you are charged
– If your treatment is insured by Medicare and the amount that Medicare pays
– If you have private coverage for that treatment, and if so, what’s the amount?
– Whether you’re treated at a hospital, and if you are a private or public patient
For treatment in the hospital, doctor’s fees can only be covered by your private health insurance. Different insurers may pay a different amount for a similar service. You should talk to your doctor, health insurer and hospital about:
– What exactly your costs might be
– When you should pay them
Out-of-pocket costs do not include the monthly premiums you pay so that you can have coverage. You can incur out-of-pocket costs if and only if, you need medical care. On the other hand, premiums have to be paid each month, regardless of you needing medical attention or not.
Under the Affordable Care Act, family plans can have out-of-pocket limits, that double the out-of-pocket limit of the individual. However, no individual is expected to incur more from out-of-pocket costs, compared to the individual limit, regardless if she/he is insured under a family plan.
In the case that you apply for an out-of-network provider, then your out-of-pocket costs can be relatively higher. On certain plans, they are double the in-network limits. On other plans however, out-of-pocket costs could be unlimited when patients receive care from hospitals or doctors that are not in the health plan’s network.
Once you decide to go without medical insurance, you’ll have to be ready to deal with the consequences. Whether planned or unplanned, most medical procedures can cost you quite a bit of money. If you don’t have insurance, then you’re responsible for paying 100% of the cost. If you can’t afford health insurance, then you will have to take a proactive approach to cope with your medical bills. Due to the rising cost of medical care, most people find it challenging to afford health care costs, regardless of having insurance. It is vital to be proactive, since medical bills can result in bankruptcy. For those who don’t have insurance, try finding a plan via the Affordable Care Act and enroll as soon as possible.
Different doctors and hospitals charge different fees for every visit. Before you even get sick, you should call around and compare average pay for an appointment, so you have an idea which place is the most affordable. For instance, a particular urgent care facility may charge only $65 for an appointment; which is much less compared to other urgent cares. Also less than what many doctors charge for a routine visit. When it comes to procedures, hospitals have varying prices as well. For those who aren’t tied down to a network, it’s prudent to make those calls before you fall ill. This will help you to know the best place to go to save money.
Most doctor’s offices will often charge you a lower rate when you don’t have health insurance, without you having to ask for the discount. For certain services, the doctor and hospital might offer you a reduced rate when you pay for it in advance. For instance, you might save money when you pay for the delivery of your baby in advance, rather than paying for it afterward. Mostly, this option might be available for medical tests or any other elective surgery too. Even if this is not helpful in an emergency, it could save you a substantial amount on your medical bills.
Upon receiving a hospital bill, you must immediately call to set up a payment plan. Usually, the hospital will provide you a lower payment amount, in the case you are unable to pay the entire amount immediately. If you are able to pay the entire amount, you must do this. Otherwise, you will have to set up a payment plan quickly. You do not want to hesitate to call and discuss payment plans. If you wait, the hospital or doctor’s office might direct you to a collection agency within 90 days. It’s also more challenging to negotiate terms with most collection agencies.
If you decide not to have health insurance, then you have to set money aside every month to cover your particular medical expenses. You should try to save a minimum of $100 per month, to cover the overall costs of doctor’s medications and bills. If you were to get seriously ill without medical insurance, you might be forced into declaring bankruptcy. What’s more, if you choose to go without insurance, then you could face extra fines under the ACA. As a result, you will have to set some money aside to cover those fines as well. The fines will be due once you pay your taxes every year. Furthermore, the fines are for every person in your family.
When your doctor provides you with a prescription, ask for free samples. They usually have lots of free samples that they can give to patients. You can also request generic versions of medication from your doctor and at the pharmacy, which cost considerably less to fill. You might also qualify for assistance with a prescription assistance program. In most cases, the drug companies can assist you in getting the medicine at a price that you can afford. So, shop around for a pharmacy that provides them for less money.
You should consider having high deductible health insurance, by creating a health savings account. Usually, this is the most affordable option, and it will protect you when you require emergency surgery or become seriously ill. You have to pay for all of your out-of-pocket costs, until you reach your deductible. Yet again, all of your medical bills must be paid in whole for the rest of the year. With a health savings account, you will have the opportunity to make contributions to apply toward your deductible. You also will not be charged on all interests earned. Since the money in this account rolls over from one year to the next, it makes it much easier to save for the long haul. Therefore, health insurance is a necessary thing. It should be considered a necessity, because it protects you from medical bills and gives you the chance to seek medical attention whenever you need it. Health insurance can also prevent small issues from developing into more serious ones.
Medical crowd-funding gives people a platform to share their unique stories with everyone, including strangers who may feel obligated to donate. For those who are dealing with expensive medical bills, it can assist you in accessing the funds you need quickly. In fact, you can withdraw funds as soon as the donations come in. It can also help in spreading awareness regarding medical conditions, and the entire healthcare system. For the uninsured, these are the reasons why fundraising for medical costs are essential.
Balance billing is a common practice, whereby a health care provider decides to bill a patient for the difference between their specific charge amount, and any other amounts paid by the insurer of the patient or applied to a patient’s coinsurance, deductible or copay. It’s also worth noting that billing a patient for the amounts applied to their co-insurance, deductible or copay isn’t considered balance billing. If both a health insurance company and a patient pay for health care expenses, it is known as cost-sharing. Copays, co-insurance and deductibles, are all cost-sharing examples. These amounts are usually pre-determined for every patient’s benefit plan.
So, is balance billing legal? Well, in some cases it is, and in some, it isn’t. In general, healthcare providers that are considered as in-network, have accepted the insurance plan’s negotiated fees. The reason balance billing will not be allowed under an in-network agreement, is because the medical provider has accepted the negotiated fees to be paid in full along with any applicable copay, coinsurance or deductible. In this case, balance billing is not legal.
On the other hand, healthcare providers that are considered out-of-network, have not accepted the insurance plan’s negotiated fees. If there’s no signed agreement between the insurance plan and the healthcare provider, the medical provider isn’t limited in what they might bill the patient for. They might seek to hold the patient accountable for any amounts that aren’t paid by the insurance plan. So, in this circumstance, balance billing is legal.
The path to paying off medical expenses isn’t as clear-cut as with other debt forms, such as credit cards or loans. Generally, there’s more room to negotiate the repayment terms, and perhaps even to lessen the amount you owe. If you have insurance, you can begin by going through your medical bill and comparing it with your benefits. Find out what you are expected to pay. However, don’t make a mistake of taking your specific bill at face value. At first, you should always try and negotiate the overall cost.
By taking a smart approach to settle your medical bills, it can assist you in avoiding delinquent medical debt on your credit report. While working with your provider, you should be upfront about exactly what you are able to pay. For the uninsured, you will probably be charged more than an individual who is insured. Knowing that there is a price disparity will give you leverage. This can be useful if you have to pay for the bill.
For those who don’t think they can afford their medical bills and you are facing overwhelming debt, then you should look into other debt-relief options. These include things like: a payment plan, negotiating costs on your own, income-driven hardship plan, medical bill advocate, unsecured credit options and medical credit cards. If your medical bills are already in collections, it is one of the reasons fundraising for medical costs is necessary. It can help you to get the funds you need as quickly as you can.
MedGift Advocacy Services, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization, classified as a public charity and is registered in the State of Georgia under EIN 81-4017965.