Chuck Bentley: How to Overcome Overwhelming Medical Debt

Dear Chuck,

Our medical bills are huge this year. We chose a high deductible to keep our monthly insurance payments down. But, we never dreamed we would experience this! Between ambulance rides, emergency rooms, hospitals, doctors, medications, and therapy, the bills are catastrophic. We need hope and light at the end of this dark tunnel.

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Sick of Medical Bills

Dear Sick,

I am so sorry. In the blink of an eye, a medical condition can impact finances in ways we never imagined. An accident, an unexpected diagnosis, a sudden illness, a premature birth. These can blindside us. But, as people of God, let us agree with Paul who proclaimed to the Corinthians:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

Here are some helpful tips to stretch your finances during this stressful time or for anyone to be prepared before catastrophe hits. Remember, mistakes happen frequently both in billing and by insurance companies. When you spot them, extend grace, but make sure they get corrected in writing. It may take months to settle the accounts, so be patient and conduct yourself in a way that brings glory to Christ.

Be Prepared

Start with an emergency fund. Keeping at least $1,000 set aside is necessary. Once you reach $1,000, start working up to 3-6 months of expenses and/or an amount that will cover your insurance deductible. Take advantage of a company health savings account (HSA) which allows you to grow pre-tax money tax-free for healthcare expenses. (It can be used in other ways too.)

Also be proactive about your health. Eat right, exercise, sleep, and reduce stress. When emergencies hit, depend on the Lord and the body of Christ for strength.

Know Your Insurance

Familiarize yourself with your insurance coverage to possibly save thousands of dollars. Understand these terms: co-insurance, co-pay, deductible, in-network, out of network. Know the difference between an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) notice from your insurer and an actual bill. The EOB shows what insurance will pay on a bill. Do not hesitate to appeal charges that are initially rejected.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley

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