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Would a Health Problem Be a Financial Disaster for You?

If there is one thing which scares the life out of me it is the thought of being laid up in hospital. The only time I have had the misfortune to sample the dubious delights of hospital food and saline drips was when I was a kid, so I can remember very little about it.

However, a close family member has been in hospital for the last few weeks and I just realized how much of a financial strain it can be. Money worries might not be the first thing you think of when you have a health scare but it is something that is sure to prey on your mind at some point while you are ill.

The Cost of Medical Care

This is a huge worry for many Americans. A recent survey showed that 87% of people in the US believe that the cost of medical care is a problem for the country. Of course, the amount you need to pay out will vary greatly depending upon what sort of health issue you have. Getting covered with some sort of medical insurance is clearly going to ease the burden but the relatively high cost of this type of insurance can be a barrier to many people looking to cover themselves. So what do you do if you are sick but simply don’t have the money to pay for treatment? Thankfully, the situation which my relative is in isn’t as serious as this but it is a terrible thought. Would you try and borrow money to get treated or would you look for another solution? Don’t forget that you could be feeling really sick while trying to work out the financial cost of treatment and how to pay for it. I guess the other option is to have a good emergency fund that could be used to pay the medical bills. If you are ever thinking of moving abroad then be sure to check out the cost and quality of local medical care, as this is something that varies from one country to another and is definitely a factor to take into account.

Lost Earnings

Anyone who is self-employed knows all too well that when they don’t work they don’t earn any money. This applies whether you are an internet freelancer, you run a small catering business, you are a farmer, you wash cars or whatever you do. The fear of lost earnings is what can sometimes drive us on to keep working even when we don’t feel all that great. Of course, there is always the possibility that doing this makes you worse. At the very least, it is important to set aside some time to get your health issues checked out when you first notice them. Doing this can stop it from turning into something far more serious and costly. If a spell without earnings would be a financial disaster for you then it might be time to work out what kind of insurance policy you could take in order to protect yourself.

Other Costs

I have recently discovered that when someone is sick there are plenty of other costs to cover as well. These range from the medicines and special foods you need to buy to things like night clothes for wearing in the hospital and taxi fares back and forward. These are usually relatively minor costs but if you have no income coming in and are already paying out for the medical care then this could be another huge worry.

Summary

When you get sick the last thing you want is to have to worry about your finances. There is no easy solution to this but getting organized and working out what you would do in this situation is certainly a good start.

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4 Responses to Would a Health Problem Be a Financial Disaster for You?

  1. This is SO important to consider! I think having an adequate emergency fund in addition to enough insurance is the key to success with health care costs. I have great insurance, so I haven’t had to personal pay a lot out of pocket for health care. But when I have had to pay, I’ve always had the cash to do so. I cannot imagine the stress that would come with feeling unable to pay for medical bills.

    • Robert Bell says:

      I guess that not being able to pay for essential medical treatment must be one of the worst financial situations possible Natalie

  2. When people think of health scares, they often think of acute, urgent problems, but chronic illness can be just as difficult on you and your finances. In addition to medical insurance, if you have the opportunity to get disability insurance at a reasonable rate (for example through an employer), take advantage. Emergency funds are vital as is preventative medical care. If you do find yourself or a family member facing health struggles, tighten up your budget as quickly as possible and investigate methods of saving money without lowering your standard of treatment (such as using manufacturer’s discounts on expensive brand name medications or using generics when possible). It can be overwhelming, but knowledge is an important tool so be sure to learn what resources are out there.

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