The Medical Nightmare
One of the biggest budget busters can be medical expenses. Although the price of medical services can be scary, it is not the only issue when it comes to dealing with medical expenses. Medical expenses are one of the few areas where it is not uncommon to use the service without any upfront cost estimate. Because our health is so important, we often ignore what the cost is going to be, and medical billing procedures do little to help us understand the cost associated with medical services until the final bill arrives in the mail.
After a recent surgery in my family, we received an unexpectedly large medical bill. While sorting through the bill, I discovered a service offered by many hospitals. It is a cost estimate for services the hospital provides. This service is available by calling the hospital's billing office and requesting the estimate. Many hospitals actually coordinate with insurance companies to give you the estimated "after insurance" out of pocket cost of a service. Although this estimate doesn't change how expensive medical services can be, it is very helpful when you are deliberating a medical procedure. Even if the procedure is necessary, having the cost estimate upfront can help us better prepare for the inevitable bills that follow.