You’re working out and eating well when all of a sudden, you catch a cold, and it turns into a nasty case of bronchitis. Although you try good old-fashioned rest with over-the-counter medicine, you just can’t seem to shake it. You’re going to have to see a doctor.
An unexpected trip to the clinic is expensive, and it’s usually made worse by tests, lab fees, and prescription medicine. How will you afford everything without insurance?
If you’re scrolling through online loans and cash advances on your phone, keep reading. While loans by phone are a financial safety net in emergencies, there are other ways to handle your unexpected bill.
Should You Take out an Online Loan or Cash Advance?
When you’re strapped for cash, borrowing an online loan provides backup to a budget that can’t handle an unexpected expense. This is how it works: You’ll pay as much of your medical bill as you can out of pocket, then use your online loan to fill in the rest.
Online loans are convenient in medical emergencies because you won’t have to go inperson to apply. You can even find, apply for, and receive loans over the phone while sitting in the waiting room.
But like any personal loan, loans over the phone come at a cost. You’ll pay interest on your principal plus other fees.
At the end of the day, you’re paying even more for your treatment this way. Considering their cost, a loan by phone is a safety net when all other options fall through.
3 Tips to Try Before Borrowing Loans Online
With a loan by phone as a last resort, what are the options that don’t include borrowing? Try these tips to help you see a doctor, purchase medication, or get an essential test.
1. Find an Affordable Healthcare Provider
Where you get your medical attention can have a big impact on the final cost you pay. While emergency rooms and private practices may apply the highest prices, you can find cheaper care from community clinics, walks-in, and urgent care centers.
If you aren’t in an accident or experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you have time to shop around before making an appointment. Call individual centers about their pricing, and don’t be shy about checking out virtual healthcare providers.
Another great resource is the Free Clinics website. All you have to do is share your zip code to find a local healthcare provider who provides medical care on a sliding scale.
2. Talk to Your Provider About Options
Talk to your doctor and their administrative staff about your financial situation. While they don’t need details, there’s no shame in telling them you’re on a budget. Having this conversation can be empowering for many reasons.
- Your doctor will know upfront to prescribe you generic drugs
- The administrative staff can give you a detailed pricing list before you agree to extra tests
This discussion also opens the door for other conversations about payment plans. Inquire about whether the walk-in clinic offers financial assistance. These plans typically give you more time to pay off what you owe in smaller chunks. However, like loans by phone, they may also come with interest, fees, and other charges.
3. Negotiate Your Bills
Everything is open to negotiation, even your medical expenses. Some providers will reduce what you owe if you can pay off the (discounted) amount in full right away.
But first, you’ll want to research what most people pay for the kind of care you receive on Healthcare Bluebook. You’ll be in a better position to know what you can ask for successfully.
Medical debt is a real problem in the US. Follow these tips to limit how much you take on the next time you need care.