Unable to meet your deductible? Considering that deductibles are increasing with every passing year, landing in such a situation is quite understandable. One of the most common deductibles that many struggle to meet is related to health insurance. According to Statista, in the US, average annual deductibles of state-sponsored health insurance plans increased from $1573 in 2018 to $1655 in 2019. In other words, deductibles increased by 5 percent per annum! Read on to find out what you should do if you don’t meet your deductible.
What Are Health Insurance Deductibles?
Deductibles refer to the amount you have to pay out of the pocket for the healthcare services before your insurance plan kicks in. For instance, if you have a $3000 deductible, then you will have to pay for any services up to $3000. If still some payments are left to be cleared, your insurer will cover it. It’s important to know that different coverage plans charge deductibles and offers benefits differently. This is why it is advised to understand the insurance company you invest in thoroughly. You should opt for an innovative health coverage plan that provides benefits before requiring you to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
But What if You Can’t Meet Your Deductible?
If you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to pay your health care deductible anymore, you will find yourself in a tricky situation. This is because, in most cases, the care you require might get delayed upon non-payment.
You must meet your deductible, or you won’t be able to avail of health care services.
Here are the different ways you can try to combat the situation.
Try to Negotiate With the Healthcare Provider for a Flexible Payment Plan
Don’t expect the healthcare providers to provide you with a discount or waive off the deductible completely. Why? Well, this goes against the rules of health care insurance.
What you can do is get your doctor to allow you to make payments in installment. Be upfront about your situation. Go to the billing department and make your case. But, remember, the more stakeholders there are, the more challenging it would become to get a payment plan.
For instance, let’s say the care you need requires you to take a blood test. Now, you owe money both to your doctor and the blood test lab. So, you will have to negotiate a payment plan with both of them.
Look for Health Care Options You Can Afford
If your healthcare provider refuses to allow a flexible payment method for the deductible, to ensure that you get timely care, you should research other health care options that come within your budget.
You might wonder, “Cheaper healthcare won’t affect my deductible, would it?”
While it won’t reduce your deductible directly, it will reduce your monthly expenses as you will be required to pay off that deductible over a longer period.
Take Money Out of Your Retirement Plan (if You Have One)
Remember, the deductible is something that you will have to pay. You can reduce the monthly expense or distribute it via installments, but you can’t wave it off.
In case your healthcare provider doesn’t agree to a payment plan, and you don’t wish to compromise on the quality of care, you can take money out of your retirement plan. This is not the first approach you should try since it calls for sabotaging your future for your present.
But, if nothing else works, this method will allow you to ensure that you have a future, to begin with!
Know that certain penalties come with taking money out before you retire. For starters, you will have to pay a penalty tax as well as income tax on the amount taken out. But, there are certain loopholes in the law that you can leverage. Learn more about them before opting for this approach.
Sell Some of Your Items
Worse comes to worst, sell some of your items to pay your deductible. We are sure you don’t wish to do so. But, in case you require urgent medical care, this might end up saving your life. Also, if you leave an illness be for a long time, it manifests into something much worse.
So, take this decision when no other solution seems ideal. You don’t necessarily have to sell your highly valuable items for the deductibles. Sometimes your jewelry or phone might generate enough money.
You can also consider taking a loan for the purpose. If you have a credit card, you can pay your deductible via it and prolong the eventual payment from your pocket.
However, taking a loan means that you will end up paying more than you initially had to. Why? This is because an interest rate will be levied on the amount you borrowed. This is why it is better not to opt for this method.
Regardless of which of these methods you use to pay your deductible, make sure that you have a long-term plan in mind about how you will deal with future deductible payments.
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