A major illness is stressful enough. Add the worries about how to handle finances and expenses and it can get downright overwhelming. But if you or a loved one are recovering from a major illness, there are some things you can do to manage expenses while times are tough.
From applying for long or short-term disability benefits to fundraisers and charitable help, you can get through this. If you’re looking for tips on how to cover expenses during your illness, read on.
Applying for Disability
Regardless of what level of health insurance you have, expenses can add up quickly after a major illness. One way to save your finances is to apply for long or short term disability, depending on the severity of your illness. Doing so could make you eligible for Medicare and put you in a better position financially. If this goes through, you’ll even be eligible for a supplemental plan that may reduce your health plan deductible at no cost to you. An easy way to begin this process is to ask your doctor or healthcare provider to speak to a medical social worker. They can help guide you through the process.
While waiting for this, call your health insurance company and ask about options for help with prescriptions. You want to make sure you are using all your coverage to your best advantage and it’s a good idea to ask now. Your insurance company won’t reduce your monthly payment but might have a good option for other ways to use the coverage you have now.
If you are in a special enrollment period, it would also be a great time to shop around for a new insurance company now if you aren’t happy with what you’ve got. When researching health insurance coverage, be sure to compare new plans to what you have and check to be sure your current situation will be covered. Find the best deal without sacrificing your health. A lower rate and better deal will help your mental health.
Maybe you had considered taking out a second mortgage, refinancing, and even using home equity to manage your expenses. While this is a great way to help for the short term, thinking about how you’ll manage expenses in the future is important too. You don’t want to set yourself up to rely on your home’s value alone. In applying for disability and other entitlement programs, you could free up your credit line down the road.
The best way to make money for unpaid or mounting medical expenses fast is to hold a community fundraiser. This is a great option for people with a large support system willing to pull the community together to help. Instead of worrying about things like how to take out a loan for renovating your home the way you might have been before you got sick, now is the time to refocus. Your health has to come first and allowing a fundraiser in your name is a great way to pay for medical expenses and even doctor travel costs.
Asking for Help
While reviewing your health coverage, applying for entitlement programs, and waiting for fundraisers to go through, take a look at your overall costs. There are tricks for lowering your internet costs and other utilities too. Calling your service provider or cable company and asking for discounts can’t hurt. And there’s nothing wrong with asking for help in other areas too. A good option might be your local food pantry or church. Being open-minded about receiving charitable gifts now will help you maintain good credit and avoid draining your savings account.
Consider asking close family or friends for help through a personal loan. If they can’t do that, maybe they could temporarily take over the monthly fee for your car, internet service, mortgage payment, or other bills. You might be surprised how willing your family is to help. Maybe you live in New York and they’re in California, it’s likely they feel helpless and wouldn’t mind paying a utility bill.
While not everyone is comfortable with asking for help or even has the resources to do it, creative thinking and enlisting your support system can be a great first step in covering expenses during a major illness. Putting your health needs first, enlisting ideas and creative thinking from healthcare providers and social workers, and leaning on people who care about you will go a long way in helping you back to health financially unscathed. Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery.