The cost of being sick can be astronomical. Especially when everyone in your family becomes ill in a relatively short period of time. My family has been experiencing a lot of illness this past month and a half, and it seems that just as someone is getting better the next illness strikes. Along with sick kids, a sick husband, being sick and pregnant myself its been one rough ride! Those of you who didn’t know, have at least noticed the sporadic posting scheduled over that same period of time. In fact, I’m writing this very post on a small tablet of paper in the doctor’s exam room while I wait to be seen. Which means yet another co-pay and perhaps another prescription or two for my single income family.
The past two weeks alone we have had KC in the hospital getting a chest x-ray, when the pediatrician suspected walking pneumonia (our portion is $150.00) , multiple doctors appointments ($25.00 co-pays each visit totaling $125.00), OB visit with ultrasound to check on the babies ($165.00), prescriptions ($40.00). Total medical expects the past two weeks: $480.00
We often think about the cost of being sick in relation to lost wages, co-pays and trips to the doctors but often don’t think about the other expenses of being sick as well. They can easily include, over the counter medications, Kleenex and even “sick foods” like soda crackers, soda pop (Sprite, 7-Up, and Ginger Ale), chicken noodle soup, cough drops, etc. These other expenses can be quite costly when you stop to add everything up.
How To Prepare For Unexpected Medical Expenses
Many people today are living paycheck to paycheck without the added security of an emergency fund let alone a medical fund. If your family, like mine, is living on a single income or on a tight budget unexpected medical expenses can be devastating.
The good news is with a little forethought and preparation when those bills start rolling in your family’s finances don’t have to hit the proverbial fan. By following a few simple steps your family’s financial health can remain in tact while your recovering form a hospital stay or simply being overwhelmed by illness.
Budget. You should already have a budget in place to help you keep your families finances on track. But if you haven’t created a budget before it is easy to get started, if you need a little guidance check out my post Learn How To Easily Create An Effective Budget Today. With an effective budget in place and a firm hand on your finances you will be in a great place to get started on the next step.
Find Ways To Save. Finding ways to save on an already tight budget may seem difficult, but the sacrifices you make today will help to keep your family safe during a time of crisis. If you need some ideas I’ve outlined 38 easy ways you can start saving money today.
Separate Account. It’s easy to set aside money with good intentions only to spend it on something else that in the moment seems equally important. To eliminate this possibility I suggest opening up a separate savings or checking account labeled medical. The total funds needed to cover unexpected medical expenses will vary from family to family.
My family currently has $2,000 set aside as this is the amount we have to pay out of pocket before our health insurance kicks in at 100%. Next year we will need to save an additional $1,000 as our premiums will be changing. You will need to decide how large of a safety net your family will need. Once your account has been set up and fully funded it is just a simple matter of replacing the funds used as your medical bills come rolling in, one by one or several at a time.
While the cost of being sick can quickly get out of hand, taking the time to be prepared will help reduce the stress your family is feeling. You will be able to recover quicker, and easier. How does your family handle the unexpected cost of being sick? Do you already have an emergency medical fund in place?
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