I could pay all of my medical bills in cash!
This decision began as the “emotional” money choice – much like choosing to pay off debts in order of balance instead of interest rate. It ended as the “rational” money choice as I worked out the details of what my medical debt will entail in the coming years.
My plan at first was to go on a payment plan with the hospital to slowly pay off the bills. I thought I would pay about $544 to the hospital every month while stocking away $544 in my emergency fund. Win-win!
Unfortunately Fortunately, my next round of treatment – if all goes well – will come up much sooner than I first imagined.
Instead of having a year or more to work on my payment plan and save for the next round of gamma knife treatment, I’ll be back in Arizona anywhere from 6-12 months from now. Hypothetically, I could split a monthly payment between saving for the next round of treatment and paying off the latest round, but I prefer the idea of using what I have in savings now to pay off the current bills and begin full-blown saving as soon as possible.
I’m not entirely confident in the insurance information I’ve been given from my employer (because none of it is in writing on the insurance company letterhead), but I’ve already met my $1,000 deductible. (Did you know that married people on a “$1,000 deductible plan” must pay $1,000 each? I just discovered this. I assumed our deductible was for both of us.)
After paying our deductibles, we must pay 20% of all medical bills up to a $6,000 pot. The insurance company has said (again, not in writing) that this pot is split between us so that David is responsible for $3,000 and I am responsible for $3,000 up to 20% of the medical bills.
After this $3,000 is paid, the insurance company pays 100% of medical expenses.
Knowing my totals as of today, I’ve met the $1,000 deductible plus a little more. If the insurance information is accurate, I should owe about $2,800 to Arizona when all is said and done.
If everything goes as planned when I have my checkup MRI in 6 months, I’ll owe another $4,000 next year in medical bills. But I have plenty of time to save for that.
So, that’s where my head is right now. I plan to use $2,800 from the emergency fund to pay off my medical bills for the year. Then I’ll immediately go into saving mode for my next round of treatment in 2013.