Each of us can be a victim of medical emergencies. We cannot avoid accidents and our bodies are very vulnerable to diseases. But what is worse than being in a medical emergency is being financially unprepared for these situations. Bills will pile up and they will need to be paid, but you still need food on your tables to feed your families and utilities to keep on. So what do we do to prepare ourselves, as best as possible, for a medical emergency?
Assess the Situation
Take a deep breath, sit down in your comfortable chair and carefully assess the situation you are in. Panicking won’t help with anything and will only lead to stress. It is common to have thousands of thoughts running through your mind right now, but what is important right now is to thoughtfully weigh in the situation to make sure you choose the right decision.
Negotiate with Lenders
If you have trouble with your sources of funding, the best thing to do is call your lender. Believe that they are willing to help you pay your medical bills even if it would mean lower rates or lengthening your terms. Most of us usually wait until we are almost at the point of bankruptcy before calling the lenders. If you know that your wallet is getting squeezed out, call the lenders before you get left behind.
Contacting your credit card provider can lead to lower rates, or in some cases, it can result in a transitory delay in paying your bills. Call your mortgage company and ask for a revamp of loans. They typically offer plans to keep your utilities and city services payments much lower if you are undergoing medical hardships. Don’t wait for your ‘payment overdue’ letters to come through the mail before making any action.
Find Extra Funds
For most of us, we all want to save some cash for our emergency purposes to help pay for any unexpected expenses, but sometimes this is not always feasible. So, who do you turn to when you have used up your savings account?
While using your credit card to pay off your bill in a lump sum is an option, this can lead to a high accumulation of interest, potentially much higher than what your final bill was. A much smarter, and more manageable, option you should consider is taking out a personal loan. If you have assessed that your medical condition will be treated for a long period of time, making the right decision about which option to use is crucial, to ensure you avoid a financial crisis that is impossible to recover from.
Another tip is to ask help from friends and family. No one wants to beg for money but a little help from our loved ones can be all you need to get through this life challenge.
Use Assistance Available
When it comes to financial problems, there may be some help out there for you if you know where to look. If your job provides health insurance coverage, ask your employer if you can be granted more extensive coverage. Also, ask if you can temporarily reduce the amount that’s taken out of your paycheck to contribute.
If your medical emergency happened in the office, ask what benefits you’re entitled to under workman’s compensation and related benefits. In most situations, you can avail yourself of benefits including social security, Medicaid and a lot more. You are funding these projects indirectly or directly, so don’t hesitate in asking for help and using the coverage you’ve contributed to.
If you really need to pay your medical bills immediately but you don’t have any source of emergency funds, you will need to cut down your expenses. It may hard to think clearly about a cut-down-expenses plan while you are facing such a difficulty in life, so having a list of areas where you can cut costs ahead of time will be a huge help. Assess which bills are important and once you do, you can start looking for those expenses to help save your budget. It will not be fun to cut out on things you are used to, but doing this will help you come out of that dreaded financial hole.
Sacrificing unnecessary luxuries such as skipping expensive coffees and bringing packed lunch will result in huge savings. You can try unsubscribing to non-vital services such as gym and cable memberships. Sell your expensive car and switch to a less costly but reliable car. Stop using expensive mobile phone plans, with unlimited talk, text and data, and switch to a lower plan you can afford. If you cut your expenses now, you can deposit these extra savings to build an emergency fund.
Save Up For Future Emergency Funds
If you have dug out of that financial hole, and have totally paid your medical bills, it is time to save up for a future emergency fund for the next time you encounter a crisis. A good way to start is to set aside some of your savings in the bank to help pay for any unexpected expenses. Cutting some of your expenses for a few months can help a lot in getting your life back on track. Consider taking out additional insurance coverage; most insurance policies today provide us a safety net in covering expenses. Avoid having your savings draining away from medical emergencies by purchasing these critical coverages:
- Disability Insurance – If you became sick, or had an injury that prevents you from working for a long time, it could mean a huge loss in your savings. This is where the disability insurance comes in. It usually replaces up to 60% of your income on the months that you cannot work. Use this type of insurance to cover the gap of the loss from your salary.
- Life Insurance – When determining how much life insurance you need, think about your beneficiaries’ needs and for how long they might need it. Think about the care of an old family member, and the tuition fees needed for your kids. Though each family will have different needs, a 7 to 10 year life insurance is essential.
- Health Insurance – If this is offered in your recent job, think about signing up for it. Health insurance can be significantly important to help cover expenses if you have a serious medical emergency.