Health care is becoming a bigger priority for many Americans, and a number of companies are offering comprehensive plans with some of the best health care coverage available.
But what if you’re not ready to go it alone?
If you’re concerned about what you can afford, how you can get it, or if you’ve ever struggled with medical bills, you’re more likely to end up with a medical bill.
In addition to the financial consequences, these plans may also increase the amount of stress you put on your health.
They may be less flexible and require you to make changes to your medical care plan, which can mean additional costs.
So, even if you do choose to go through the medical insurance process, you may end up paying a lot more than you bargained for.
And as we learn more about how health care costs are going up, there are a few things that can be done to protect yourself and your family from the financial burden of having to pay for expensive medical care.
Here are 10 things you can do to help protect yourself from financial harm and avoid financial penalties if you have health problems.1.
Set limits on your medical expenses, especially if you already have health issues.
If you have a preexisting condition, it may be difficult to keep your premiums low.
This means limiting your medical costs to cover your basic needs, such as medication, tests and procedures.
But limiting your costs could also prevent you from being able to afford other necessities such as clothing and other essential items, which could add to the medical bills.
To help you set reasonable limits on what you spend on health care, consider limiting your overall health care expenditures, such and prescription drugs, if you:2.
Keep your spending within your budget.
If your budget is too tight to keep up with your medical bills and the amount you need to spend on medical care becomes out of reach, consider cutting back on other costs and/or limiting your health care spending, such:3.
Limit your spending on insurance.
A recent survey of more than 2,000 Americans found that 63 percent of people who received financial help from the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid said they reduced their spending.
That means they saved more money over time than they would have without the help.4.
Use an insurance broker to set up an emergency savings plan.
You may need help with your insurance premiums and your insurance plan’s deductible or co-pay, as well as to find a health insurance plan that offers lower out-of-pocket costs and more comprehensive benefits, including prescription drugs and more.
And while you can apply for a new plan through an insurance agent, many insurers may not be able to offer you the lowest premiums possible, so it may make sense to make your first decision based on your ability to manage your finances.5.
Avoid having your finances monitored.
Your financial and medical records can be used by your insurance company to target you with medical care and to deny coverage or raise your premiums.
If you think you might have an underlying health condition or are unsure about whether your insurance coverage will cover your medical needs, you can:6.
Seek professional advice about medical billsIf you’ve suffered from health issues that put you at high risk for financial harm, there may be an important opportunity to get help from a professional.
The Financial Freedom Coalition, which works with insurers and other financial institutions, offers financial services to people with financial difficulties.
For example, the group offers financial advice on a variety of issues, including how to plan ahead, negotiate a new payment plan, and adjust your payments.7.
Contact your state’s insurance commissioner.
If there is a financial issue that may be a concern for you, you should contact your state insurance commissioner to learn more.
You can call them at 1-877-444-6227.8.
Call your local hospital.
If a hospital is denying or raising your health insurance premiums, there is also a good chance that your doctor may be able offer you a more affordable care plan.
To find out more about this option, visit www.healthcare.gov/medical-coverage.9.
Contact an insurance consultant.
If your insurer refuses to cover medical care that you need, contact an insurance consulting firm.
These firms can offer you advice about financial planning, deductibles, out- of pocket expenses and more, as a way to avoid costly medical bills or to reduce your costs.10.
Take a personal finance class.
If an insurance plan doesn’t cover your health expenses, you need more than just a simple health plan.
This includes classes and online resources, as outlined in a list of helpful financial tips.