Financial concerns can bubble up quickly once you or a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic illness. When the first (of many) medical bills begin to arrive, financial anxiety begins to hit hard. So many families are financially unprepared for this monumental shift in household finances. So, what can the average family do to ensure that a diagnosis does not lead to financial ruin?
- Explore financial assistance programs with a social worker at your health provider
There are hundreds of financial assistance programs available to patients diagnosed with a chronic disease. Most pharmaceutical companies have a non-profit arm that will help with the copays associated with any expensive therapies, up to a certain monetary limit. Additionally, there are many organizations whose mission is to reduce the financial burden for families affected by a chronic illness:
- Discuss financing options that are available to you through your health provider
If you are unable to pay your bill in-full and are ineligible for financial assistance, then explain your situation to the healthcare provider that sent the bill. This discussion can lead to two potential outcomes:
- The provider may lower the amount of the bill that you are financially responsible to pay. Thus enabling your ability to meet the payment; and/or
- The provider may discuss financing options with you, such as those administered by CareCredit. This financing will work in the same way as buying a car and taking out a loan.
- Start (or update) your Will
Don’t leave it to your family, and the court, to battle about your intentions. Clearly articulate them in a document and let your loved ones know where they can find it. It doesn’t have to be an overly complex, or expensive, document. Here are two affordable options that can help if you have a fairly simple estate:
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