4 Ways to Fund Emergency Medical Expenses

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Life can be unpredictable and situations can arise that totally throw us off — even those of us who’ve planned for the unexpected.

If you’ve recently experienced an unexpected emergency medical situation that you now have to find a way to pay for, you might be wondering what your options are when it comes to covering the cost. Especially if you’ve recently used your emergency fund for something else.

Take a look at four ways you can fund unexpected emergency medical situations.

1. Earn Some Extra Cash

If you can, find a way to earn some extra cash to cover your emergency medical expenses. These days, there are tons of ways to make money without any experience, such as delivering fast food with Door Dash, Uber Eats, Grub Hub, or Post Mates. You could also deliver groceries with companies like Shipt or Instacart.

Note: During the pandemic, you may decide it makes more sense to take care of your health and not participate in these service-based hustle opportunities.

Or you could complete tasks from your laptop with sites like Task Rabbit, sell on Etsy, walk dogs with Rover, babysit with Care.com, become an online tutor, or rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb.

Find something you’d be comfortable with to start earning the money you need to cover your medical expenses.

2. Take Out a Personal Loan

Taking out a personal loan is another way to go if you check all three of these boxes:

  • You’re unable to earn extra money.
  • You can’t ask a family member.
  • You’ve got a decent credit score.

Personal loans are not the same as payday loans, which you should avoid. Payday loans are considered predatory and come with jaw-droppingly higher interest rates than traditional personal loans.

Instead, if you must borrow money, turn to a personal loan from a trusted lender. It helps to compare rates (and other factors) from various lenders before you make a decision on where to get your loan funds. That way you know you’re getting the lowest rate possible.

3. Get an Emergency Credit Card

Using an emergency credit card can help you cover unforeseen medical expenses like emergency room visits or unexpected surgeries. If you don’t already have a credit card for emergencies, consider applying for one from a reputable company like USAA. With a USAA credit card, get 2 percent cashback on your first $3,000 you spend on groceries every year.

You’ll also get up to 1.5 percent unlimited cash back on all of your other purchases — including your medical bills. There’s also no annual fee and no penalty APR.

You will have to pay interest, though, as with any credit card. So think long and hard about using one to pay your medical bills. If you can’t afford to pay it off by the end of the month, you could end up paying more in interest than if you had just set up a payment plan with the hospital.

4. Ask for a Payment Plan

Emergency room costs can get as high as $20,000 or more, depending on what you’re being treated for. If you can’t use any of the above methods, consider asking your medical service provider if they can put you on a payment plan so that you can pay off your balance over time.

Ask about financial assistance programs, too, because nonprofit hospital systems are legally required to provide them under the ACA. The income limits may be higher than you think; you should always apply even if you don’t think you’re poor.

Considering Your Options

The above information can keep help you cover unforeseen emergency medical situations that might arise. Figure out which options work best for you and get the process started as soon as possible.

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