Health insurance can be an extremely useful tool to have, but what should you do if you can actually afford to pay for your medical bills out of your own pocket? That’s a good question, and finding out the answer involves understanding how health insurance works and coming up with a way to pay the least for your health insurance and get the biggest benefit out of it while still having the freedom to pay cash for procedures, medications or other health-related costs that you might not have access to through your insurance. The good news is, you can still get health insurance even if you have the ability to pay cash for medical expenses.
What Health Insurance is
Health insurance is sort of like a bet between you and your health insurance company. They are betting that your health insurance premiums are going to come in every month and the money that they pay out for medical procedures like regular physicals or medications that you take each month are going to cost less than what you pay in insurance premiums. You are betting that one of these days the insurance company will have to pay a great deal more than you have been paying them throughout the years due to an emergency room visit or other medical procedure.
Health insurance usually has a couple of different components. One of them is the deductible. The deductible is the amount of money that you will pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company starts paying their share. The higher the deductible, the less money you have to pay per month. There may also be what are called co-pays. Co-pays are preset amounts that you have to pay for particular procedures such as a yearly physical or other doctor visit. But when you’re paying for some of your health services yourself, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing the type of health insurance plan that you want.
Paying Cash for Medical Services
Doctors definitely appreciate when someone pays cash for medical services. Insurance companies often negotiate much lower prices than the cash price the doctors list and it can take insurance companies weeks or months to get the payment turned in. So, doctors definitely will appreciate it if you pay cash for the majority of your medical services and will probably even give you a discount if you have one.
Whether you want to get insurance or not will depend upon how often you go to the doctor and how likely it is that you will get sick or injured in the near future and need some sort of backup plan. For example, you might just want health insurance that pays for all of your medications and regular doctor visits or emergency room visits if you can see that paying for those things yourself is going to cost more than the total of your insurance premiums each month.
If you almost never go to the doctor and do not take any prescription medication or have any illnesses or diseases, then you may want to avoid having health insurance altogether. However, that will mean that if a major emergency comes along that is going to be extremely costly, you are going to be responsible for that entire cost yourself as well.
Changing Your Plan Deductible
Instead of paying cash for everything, you may want to consider getting a health insurance plan that has a high deductible that covers you in case of major emergencies. Imagine if you had a serious injury and had to spend a great deal of time in the hospital or even months and years recovering from something. Even if you are financially well-off, you could find yourself destitute after a few months of medical bills. But if you have health insurance that is they are just to protect you in case of a major emergency where hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars are online then it’s a very smart play even for the person that prefers to pay cash.
On the Other Hand
But what about people who are not able to afford their medical bills? There are definitely far more of these than the former. If you cannot afford your medical bills, there are some options out there. For one thing, you may want to move to a state that provides low cost health insurance or Medicaid for low income families. Medicaid will pay for doctor and hospital visits even better than private insurance because there is rarely a deductible or high co-pays.
Besides getting insurance, there are ways that you can reduce your medical bills. Hospitals and doctors’ offices will generally negotiate with you if you tell them that you cannot afford your medical bills. They may even cut your medical bills in half and set up a payment plan over a long period of time. This is more attractive to them that not receiving the money at all which is what often happens.
In addition, you can sometimes find charities, religious organizations and government grants that will pay part or all of your medical bills for you. This takes a great deal of research and can yield very few results, but it is something to think about if you have time when your hands and cannot afford your medical bills.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that whether you have enough money to pay for your medical bills or not, it is always a good idea to examine insurance plans, figure out what future costs are likely to be and make informed financial decisions. You’ll want to choose high deductible plans for emergencies even if you can afford your medical bills right now, and there are options out there for those who have the opposite issue where they are unable to pay their current medical bills and see no way to do so in the future.