How to Pay for Medical Care Without Going Broke

pay for medical care

If you’ve ever spent the night at a hospital, you have learned that our health care system is costly. There are separate charges for doctors and services that quickly add up to astronomical values. If you haven’t had to deal with the financial pains of illness, here is how you pay for medical care without going broke.


Insurance can save you thousands, or hundreds of thousands, for medical care. When I was going through chemotherapy, I would stare in utter shock when I would see the prices of each drug. They were six figures each, and I had 16 rounds of chemo. I saved so much money by having an excellent insurance plan through my job. If you must have private insurance, make sure you’re getting sufficient coverage for your premium.

Even with insurance, there will be out of pocket expenses. There are co-pays and deductibles to contend with until you reach your out of pocket limit if you have one. In my case, I have to pay $350 for office visit co-pays and $5,000 in preferred deductibles before my insurance company will start paying 100% of my eligible costs. If I go out of the network, my deductible is $7,000. Check your coverage to see what you have to pay for visits, testing, procedures, and providers.

Depending on your illness, you may also be eligible for grants. There are normally income or insurance restrictions but they can be worth thousands of dollars.

Consider Paying Cash

While insurance is usually the way to pay for medical care, sometimes cash is still king. For example, a Louisiana woman had a heart test called an echocardiogram. She spent over $700 with insurance, but she could have saved $300 if she had paid cash. When you are checking into a hospital, they usually have financial services see you first. While speaking to a representative, ask if it is cheaper to pay cash or to use your insurance. You can utilize a health savings account to save pre-tax dollars for medical costs each year.

Shop Around

Prices can vary drastically between hospitals, even within the same state. There have been several reports and videos surrounding the fluctuating costs. One of the most common topics is childbirth. Parents Magazine states that the prices are almost $9,000 to have a child in a hospital. Contrarily, an Axios video indicates that the average hospital fees for childbirth are over $32,000, or over $51,000 for a cesarean. Calling around to your local hospitals may save you thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, many hospitals may not tell you how much you’ll have to pay until after the baby is born. There are sites like that aim to give transparency to medical fees.

Ask for Alternatives

You have a choice in the care you receive. There are times where it might be the right choice. For example, if the doctor recommends a generic solution without taking account of your family’s medical history, genetic predisposition, and other factors, then you may want to get a second opinion. Also, there are almost always more treatment options than the one initially prescribed. Ask for alternatives and research the outcomes for those in a similar situation. Worst case scenario, you can say no and see another doctor.

Maintaining your health is vital, and you shouldn’t have to stress about paying for it. Making good choices before illness strikes can alleviate many of your worries.

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