Remember how I said my son’s ER bill was just shy of $1,000? Whelp, I was wrong. Turns out, the first bill was from the doctor. A second bill arrived in the mail from the hospital. Apparently, they don’t bill together. That would just be silly.
The second bill was for $2,000. $2,000!! Holy moly! The total cost for stitches on my son’s chin was $3,000! I called the hospital to negotiate a lower rate. Dave Ramsey swears this is possible. It’s not. The hospital refused to budge. They offered to let me make payments for 6 months.
Here’s the deal. I have $2,000 in my HSA but it’s invested and doing well. I know I’ll have bigger health or dental expenses in the future so I really don’t want to touch that if I can avoid it. I have $2,000 in my emergency fund and yes, I consider this an emergency, but that’s invested as well. Easy to pull out if needed but same reasoning here, I don’t want to touch that money if I can avoid it. So that leaves me here…staring at debt??
I can afford the monthly payment and the hospital charges no interest to spread this bill out over 6 months. Financially, that makes the most sense but I’m reluctant to take this option because I consider it debt. Owing someone. Making payments. Sounds a lot like debt. My husband disagrees and wants to make the payments.
This is a good time to stretch my brain and think of other ideas. There’s got to be something I can do that doesn’t involve pulling money from my emergency fund or my HSA. I looked at my categories for places I could ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ and I focused on the car replacement fund. It’s not invested and I don’t plan to use it in the next 6 months. I can pull it from there and make 6 months of payments back to the car replacement fund. Not optimal but if I really get into a bind, I can make a claim to the HSA to get that $2,000 and put it into the car fund.
I’m curious though, if I didn’t have the car fund to borrow from and made payment instead, would you consider that debt?