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Do I take out a loan or dip into my EF?

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As I’ve previously mentioned, I am been dealing with some significant health issues over the last few months. And we are starting to get some answers. One of the first ones is my hearing…I’ve got about a 50% hearing loss and definitively need hearing aids to maintain quality of life.

I wasn’t super shocked when they gave me the results of all the testing, neither were my kids. However, there was some sticker shock when it came to the price of hearing aids.

This is kind of like the ones I am getting but mine will be dark colored to blend with my hair.

Granted there are cheaper models with less “bells and whistles” but I believe the doctor is right in that with my work, phone requirements and age, getting the technology to make this adjustment as easy as possible is important.

Evidently, having this significant of hearing loss in your 40s is not normal. They normally don’t see hearing loss like this until people are in their 60s unless there is some sort of traumatic event. And since I’ve worked from home for the last 20 years, it’s not like I’m around loud noises, etc.

The Cost

The sticker price on my new hearing aids is $7,900. Ouch!

Now my health insurance does pay part of that, just not sure how much. And I have $2,200 available on my HSA.

So my question is do I take advantage of the no interest, 12 months financing the doctor’s office and then pay it off over the year.  I contribute $600 per month to my HSA so won’t have trouble paying it off from that tax free money. Or do I dip into my EF to pay it up front.

I just hate the thought of using my EF at all. This doesn’t seem like an emergency.

I have to make a decision this week as my new hearing aids should be here this week and I have to go in with an answer for paying for them.


17 Comments

  • Reply SMS |

    It depends … on how much your insurance will pay and on how much you have in the EF. If you have, say, less than 10k in the EF, the financing would be best. As you know, there are all kinds of potential expensive emergencies. At any time you could go into the EF or HSA and pay off the rest.

    • Reply Hope |

      True. It does look like the consensus is to take the financing with the plan to pay it off before the interest free timeline expires.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Get on the phone with your insurance company!! There should also be an extensive coverage document to help you understand what is covered and what isn’t. If this is a side effect of covid, ask about than angle as well.

  • Reply Angie |

    I would take the 0% interest and pay it off monthly with your cashflow. Keep the receipt(s). Plan to max your HSA for the entire year if you aren’t already. You do not have to pay for your health expenses with your HSA debit card. Nor do you need to remove the HSA money immediately. Then the money in your HSA will continue to grow tax free. Then if you need the money you can reimburse yourself from your HSA for the full (or even partial) amount. You can even reimburse yourself for this expense in 2022 from next years HSA contributions (once the money contributed of course!).

      • Reply Angie |

        It’s pretty simple. You put money in tax free, it grows tax free. You can withdraw (direct to your bank account or check) at any time provided you have a receipt for a health expense. The receipt does not need to be recent, so you can collect all your health receipts over the years and wait to cash out the money. You can then pay upfront (or with their payment plans) for your health expenses while the money in your HSA continues to grow. When you need or want the money you submit one of your receipts and withdraw the money. Again, you can reimburse yourself a month later or even years later. Generally, it is better to cash flow a health expense, if possible, than to withdraw from an HSA.

        Technically, you could never withdraw from your HSA and continue to let the funds grow tax free, keeping receipts along the way. You’ll never pay taxes even on the withdrawals so it’s sort of like a super Traditional IRA. At a certain age, your HSA will be treated like an IRA and you can withdraw for retirement expenses in addition to health expenses. Of course you’d only do this if you have your HSA funds invested in the stock market, but this option is usually available once you have a balance of $2,000-4,000 in the HSA. I’ve got almost 100k in my HSA and plan to keep it in there to hopefully grow enough to cover the majority of my health expenses in retirement.

  • Reply Sandra G. |

    I personally would take advantage of the interest free financing. It’s what I’ve done before and would do again. In my situation I don’t have an HSA so just divide the balance between how ever many paydays there are before the promotion expires and that’s my payment every payday.

  • Reply Lisa |

    Find out how much insurance pays before you make a decision. You need to know how much you will be out of pocket for.

    • Reply Hope |

      Unfortunately, that’s not an option. I pick up the hearing aids this week and they paper file all insurance. My guess is about 10%.

      • Reply Lisa |

        Sure it’s an option. Look at your benefits and if it isn’t clear call them yourself and ask.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    Hearing loss in diabetes is not uncommon. I would urge you to take your diabetes more seriously. I already know your response will be yes I do, it’s under control blah blah. But you are at a higher risk for so many serious conditions and it doesn’t sound like you understand that fully from many recent posts here.

  • Reply JP |

    Check the pricing. My sister went to a specialist and got a diagnosis. Then they recommended something like what you have here. She got the prescription and bought elsewhere for about half as much. These are huge markup items. Like with glasses, they don’t make their money with the exams, mostly selling you stuff.

  • Reply Katie |

    Sounds like it’s too late, but for future reference or anyone else, friends have said there are good deals on hearing aids at Costco. If you’re a veteran, get them through the VA, even if you don’t use the VA for your normal healthcare. My dad got his through the VA, and he doesn’t even have to pay for batteries for his.

So, what do you think ?