Posted by Lauren Lechner Aug 23 2013
The cost for stroke care can be expensive and overwhelming. But getting behind on your bills or not getting help right away can worsen the blow.
What You Can Do
• Get help. Many hospitals and stroke facilities provide financial aid counselors. Set a meeting with the counselor and be honest about your financial situation.
• Set up a payment plan. Medical bills may add up to more than you can pay at once. Call all the facilities where care was given and ask to set up a payment plan. You’ll be able to pay off the bills in affordable increments without damaging your credit or paying high interest on a credit card.
• Don’t ignore your bills. Set up a system for opening and filing bills. Keep record of what has been paid and what still needs to be paid. Call the biller if you are unable to make a payment.
• Tap into your savings. Stroke care is a good reason to use any money you set aside for a rainy day. Consider using your savings before putting payments on a high-interest credit card.
• Health Savings Accounts. If you have a high-deductible health plan with an HSA, remember to use the money you have set aside in this account to cover any costs not covered by your insurance.
If your bills come from a hospital, ask your facility if they can provide free or reduced-cost care. In 1946, Congress passed the Hill-Burton Act to give hospitals, nursing homes and other similar facilities grants for updates and construction in exchange for providing a reasonable number of services to people unable to pay for them.
About 170 healthcare facilities in the U.S. are obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care. These facilities have provided more than $6 billion in uncompensated services to eligible patients since 1980.
You may apply for the reduced costs even if the care has already been given and even if your bill has been given to a collection agency.
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