The cost of seeing a doctor is the last thing you want to crunch when you aren’t feeling your best. Unfortunately, it’s something you might have to do before you get the care you need. If you live with a very tight budget, you may be worried what you can afford. Does that mean you have to give up getting treatment if you come up short? In an urgent medical situation, short term personal loans provide a cash cushion in your time of need, but are they your only option? Let’s find out.
When Should You Use Short Term Personal Loans?
Accidents happen and people get sick. Sometimes, there’s no way you can predict these medical issues, so you’re stuck dealing with an expensive bill you didn’t anticipate.
If you don’t have savings, a short term personal loan can work as a stopgap to ensure you get the care you need. Many short term personal loans are available online, so you can learn about your options over the web anywhere you get a connection — at work, at home, or even in a clinic waiting room.
While there are many potential benefits of short term personal loans, they aren’t a good option for expected medical expenses in your budget. That’s because no loan is free. Depending on your financial profile, you may be paying high rates and fees to take out these emergency loans.
What Are the Alternatives to Short Term Personal Loans?
If you live without health insurance, surprise medical expenses are costly enough without adding any interest on top of them. Doing what you can to pay for your healthcare needs out of pocket will ultimately save you money. Try out these tips to keep your costs low—at the very least, following them means you won’t have to borrow as much.
1. Understand the Real Cost of Your Care
Knowing how much materials, services, and tests cost can help you advocate for yourself. Go online and check out the Blue Book and FAIR Health to get an idea of what you can expect to pay. This way, you’ll be able to spot any discrepancies or inflated costs, and you’ll be in a better position to negotiate a correction.
2. Talk to the Billing Department About Options
If there aren’t any mistakes and you still can’t afford your bill, ask to speak with the billing department. Here’s a chance to explain you’re having trouble paying your bill.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to get into any dirty details about your finances or provide proof. This is an opportunity to get the ball rolling about payment plans or discounts. You can also ask to see if they’re willing to waive any fees or offer relief plans.
3. Shop Around for the Right Clinic
Not every hospital, urgent care, or clinic charges the same price. If you can spare some time before seeking medical attention, go online and search for organizations that provide medical care on a sliding scale.
4. Start Saving for Medical Emergencies
Once you handle today’s medical emergency, don’t overlook tomorrow’s. While it may not come the day after next, there’s a good chance you’ll come down with something in the next few years.
With this kind of certainty, it’s a great idea to set aside some money for medical expenses with each paycheck. Setting aside a monthly $50 or $100 is a lot easier than scrambling to pull together $600 for a surprise blood test or x-ray all at once.
Short term personal loans are there to help when you have no other options. But as this guide goes to show, you may not have to borrow to see a doctor. Remember these tips to find cheaper care.