Unexpected Medical Expenses: Budgeting Tips For Families

Stay Connected

When planning your family’s budget, it’s hard to factor in the unexpected, such as paying for emergency medical situations. Maybe a family member is in an accident and needs to go to the emergency room, or perhaps a series of ear infections result in a recommendation that your child receive ear tube surgery – whatever the source of the expenses, medical issues are urgent and you’ll need to have funds on hand. Too many of us are underprepared for such unfortunate but common situations.

If you’re trying to manage your family’s medical expenses more effectively, there are a few steps you can take to establish greater financial security. Here are 3 potential approaches to handling such costs that can save you from major medical debt.

Understand Your Insurance

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans are now required to have health insurance, and there are even tax credits available to help your family afford coverage. Even with this coverage, however, many families are struggling to afford rising deductibles and this can have a major impact on your ability to save.

It’s important to choose your insurance carefully and pay attention to both your monthly premiums and the deductible that you’ll need to meet before your insurance kicks in. For everyday costs – an annual checkup or a run of antibiotics – having to meet your deductible may not be a big deal. These expenses aren’t astronomical. But if a family member suddenly needs surgery, you may be facing several thousands dollars out of pocket before your insurance will pay anything.

Shop Around

We tend to think of medical costs as fixed and non-negotiable, but there’s more wiggle room there than you might think. Those who fill a lot of prescriptions, for example, may find that apps like GoodRX can help you find a better price in the same neighborhood. This savings can quickly add up.

Similarly, make sure to comparison shop for things that aren’t covered by your insurance, such as hearing aids. Hearing aids are rarely covered by insurance, but there are ways around this. Some regions have loaner programs for children in need, and there are different kinds of hearing aids on the market. Though they’re still expensive, with research you may be able to find some at an appropriate price point.

Save Up

When you save for medical emergencies in your main savings account, it can be tempting to withdraw the money early when a different need arises. A good solution to this is to open a Health Savings Account (HSA). HSAs are open to those with high deductible insurance plans and are treated preferentially for tax purposes. These accounts can be valuable financial backup when you need to pay off your deductible.

No matter what path you take towards managing your family’s financial expenses, you’ll be glad you planned and saved when an emergency strikes. It’s all about treasuring your health while you have it, but still planning so that you can take care of yourself if that health fails.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Author Login