- Do not get sick in this country.
- If you must get sick, be sure you are wealthy and can get treatment overseas.
- If that's not an option, make sure you have decent insurance. Aetna has been good to me. Note - talking to my fellow sickos has taught me that no insurance company is decent once you start costing them serious money.
- Do not use credit cards to pay for procedures unless you are sure you know the full amount you are facing. Hospitals can bill separately by department, doctor, and date and type of treatment if desired, and often take up to six months before sending you an initial bill.
- If the bill is more than you can pay, make every effort to contact their billing department to negotiate a monthly payment. Go for the lowest amount possible since you never know if they plan to send you future bills.
- Stick to the negotiated payment plan. If you have extra money, save it.
- Do NOT allow the payment schedule to extend beyond three months if the remaining amount will be under $1,000. Although you will be expected to stick to a written agreement with the hospital, they will not have to do the same. I had three hospital bills I was paying that dipped under $1k after three months, and all three billing offices sent them to an outside collection agency without bothering to inform me.
- If you have a bill that will fall to under $1,000 after the third payment, pay the full amount before it drops below $1,000. If you lack the funds, use a credit card if available. It will cost more, but even before the 2010 law the credit card companies were forced to be more fair and honest than a hospital.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
More Health and Money Stuff
Quick status update: heart is better, kidneys are better, liver is worse, diabetes is worse. I'm back in the medical system again, but this time I'm being treated as an outpatient, I managed to stumble on a better nest of doctors, and I have insurance, a little savings, and experience in dealing with American healthcare. I've posted this before, but since it's actually useful information, I'll summarize what I've learned again.