Many people and families in the U.S. and worldwide have experienced changes to their health, wellbeing, workload, lifestyle, routine, and finances directly or indirectly caused by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. Whether they contracted it themselves or have family members and friends who did, people who have dealt with the virus may have noticed irregularities in COVID-19 medical expenses. Since the pandemic began, medical bills for hospitalizations and medical care related to COVID-19 have been unpredictable. The amount of treatment and costs depend on each individual’s symptoms, medical insurance, and how healthy or unhealthy they were before they contracted the virus.
Older adults are most vulnerable to this highly transmissible virus, but they may have supplemental coverage that helps make medical care affordable. People aged 65 and older who are on Medicare may have additional coverage that encompasses most medical costs. Individuals who lack supplemental coverage, however, might rack up medical bills they can’t afford. It can be difficult for people across all age groups to pay their medical bills on top of their usual monthly bills. Paying medical bills during the pandemic may be challenging, but it’s possible with the tips listed below.
1. Save your money, and follow a reasonable budget.
Creating a new budget, or updating a current one, and setting financial goals can be the best way to help people spend their money in practical ways. Allocating a certain amount of money to go toward regular household expenses can prevent spending too much money, ensuring that there will be extra money saved in the event of medical and household emergencies, pay cuts, layoffs, or termination from work. A good idea that can save you money is to consider any bills that you can trim or remove from your budget. By temporarily or permanently stopping some recurring subscriptions and services, you can free up more of your money, and put these funds toward paying for medical care and expenses.
Another factor to consider in your financial plan is your method of paying expenses. When covering high costs like medical bills or home improvement repairs, avoid using a credit card. While credit cards are an acceptable payment form, if you used one to cover medical costs, you’d have to be sure that you can cover the total credit card balance on your credit card bill you charged at the end of the month. If not, interest rates and late fees could increase, adding to your bills and monthly payments.
2. Be open, and discuss your bills and treatment costs with your medical care provider.
With more money available, people can afford costs associated with the coronavirus and expenses related to care for other health components, like hearing. People who experience earaches, age-related hearing loss, injury-related hearing loss, or suffer from tinnitus symptoms and want to improve their hearing health will be able to afford audiology testing from professional audiologists who specialize in treating tinnitus. A high-quality hearing test enables tinnitus patients, and others who aren’t experiencing symptoms of tinnitus, to have any hearing problems identified, diagnosed, and treated early. Audiologists can conduct various tests and assist you with finding suitable hearing aids if you need them.
If you need medical equipment and have numerous medical bills, try communicating your situation to your medical care provider for assistance and guidance. Some doctor’s offices and hospitals offer payment assistance programs to patients that qualify based on their income, medical history, and circumstances. Such assistance programs typically follow state or federal guidelines.
Proper budgeting and saving, and utilizing assistance or guidance from your medical care providers, can help you deal with increased expenses, even if you’re experiencing a reduced income.