How To Predict Medical Expenses For Your Monthly Budget
Medical bills are an inevitable part of life, but they don’t have to be the leak that sinks your financial boat. Whether it’s a medical emergency or a routine procedure, you can plan for some or all of the expenses in your monthly budget.
Establish a medical emergency fund
No one can predict when the next emergency will strike. The smart thing, then, is to always be prepared whenever possible. Budget a percentage of your income specifically for medical emergencies. This is completely apart from any household emergency savings or other medical expenses you may put into the budget and can only be used for emergency medical issues. It may not cover all of the expenses for a particularly expensive emergency, but at least you’re prepared with some financing if things go bad.
Determine how much insurance and deductible will be for the year
A lot of people budget for their health insurance payments and then discover that they still can’t handle medical bills because they don’t have the money for a deductible. Instead, take the amount of your deductible and divide it by 12, then add that number to your normal insurance payment–this is how much you need to budget for insurance every month.
Plan for known exams
If you know you have certain medical bills every year, such as a regular health exam or screening, then plan for it ahead of time. Call your insurance company to find out what is covered for each appointment, what your copay should be for each, and any other factors that could add to the out-of-pocket price tag. Add together the expenses for all planned appointments, and divide that by 12 to get your monthly budget amount.
Try to get estimates before elective procedures
If you’re planning to go in for a non-emergency procedure, call the medical billing department for your doctor(s) or your local hospital. Explain which procedure will be done, and ask for a price estimate. Make sure they know whether you’re paying with health insurance or cash out of pocket, because the method may impact how much you’re charged. Note that this amount may change based on the exact materials and time required for the procedure, but the estimate will offer a good thumbnail so you can start saving.
Ask about payment preferences
Lump payments are great when you can do them, but they’re often difficult to work into your budget. Some healthcare providers allow payment plans so that you can turn it into monthly payments after the procedure. Others require either cash or valid insurance at the time of service. Still others may offer both options, but might give a discount for lump sum payments. Find out the available terms for your payments, and then determine which one fits best into your personal plan.
No matter how tight or generous your income may be, keeping a budget is critical to overall financial health. Take the time to work with the medical billing office, like Mountain View Billing Services, your insurance company, and your healthcare providers to get the best possible prediction for your future healthcare expenses. With vigilant planning, medical issues are one less expense that can take you by surprise.