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Tips for Dealing with Medical Bills

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Thank you so much for all the well thought out advice regarding the sale of our house. I really haven’t put much thought into it because I do know that 1) I’m not on solid ground financially YET and 2) you are right, I am pretty sure that I do not want to live in this tiny town after Princess graduates.

All your notes were really appreciated. Especially since…someday…I want to have my own home.

But moving on…

We have started receiving the bills for Sea Cadet’s hospital stay. So far, the total is right around $3,100.

So today, I come to you to ask for any advice on calling medical bills…

  1. Has anyone had any luck negotiating the total down when you can’t pay in full right away?
  2. I know we will be able to get him started on a payment plan.
  3. Any other tips for when we call, rather he calls?

We are going to wait another week in hopes that they will all have arrived, and then make a plan. I don’t want him to commit to multiple payment plans that run the total payment too high for him. Any tips for how to approach these phone call are greatly appreciated!

The good news is that he has already committed to his next step after he completes his Advanced EMT schooling. He will have full insurance coverage come August! More on that down the road…


Nothing like a Medical Emergency…

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To give you perspective. Sea Cadet (and I) spent most of this week in the local hospital. He had two surgical procedures, and will have to monitor himself for the next month before a follow up appointment.

When I took him in Sunday night, I thought it was most likely his appendix. But it wasn’t. (I won’t go into detail to respect his privacy.) And he will be fine in the long run.

Sea Cadet after surgery

Sea Cadet after his second surgery

We have learned several lessons from this week:

  1. Listen to your body. As a family who tends to avoid doctors for the most part, there are times when getting things checked out is very important.
  2. Communication is key. Our local hospital is very small. The service has been fantastic. But we received lots of mixed messages. Go home, no stay. Surgery at 10, no 8:30am. Take this medicine, no this one. When working in a team or family even, being clear on your communication is very important.
  3. Health insurance. To be honest, the jury is still out on this for me. But I had multiple interesting discussions with other patients, concerned families and so on about its usefulness or lack thereof. Sea Cadet does not have any health insurance, so it will be interesting to see how the financial aspect of this plays out.
  4. Having the flexibility to work from wherever is fantastic when you have a child in crisis. Thankfully, I did not miss a beat at work. I was able to to set up shop in his hospital room, the cafeteria, the waiting room and the recovery room. I am so grateful for this (and for how wonderful my clients have been this week.)

In the end, I had to pay $40 as a copay for the hospital to treat him with no insurance. And his medications have cost less than $30 – antibiotics and pain medicine.

We are not panicking at this point. He has applied for reduced cost medical treated, a service offered by the hospital, and we will wait until the bills start coming in to figure out a game plan. Because he is an adult, I am not legally responsible for these bills, but as a parent, I will try to help as much as I can.

Have you had a medical crisis that caused such distress? Any tricks with dealing with the financial repercussions?

 


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