Medical emergencies are a strain for people. Whether it’s straining emotionally, financially or it’s just a big inconvenience, medical emergencies can cause problems at work, with families and in the future. Preparing for a medical emergency goes deeper than teaching children a plan if mom and dad are hurt or knowing how to escape the house if there’s a fire – the financial burden of a medical emergency can destroy a family’s future. Although you should always put your own and others’ health first when there is an emergency, there are also ways to lessen the financial burden on yourself or family when you do have a medical emergency. By being financially prepared for something bad to happen, you’re actually going to make that emergency less of a problem for your family and allow yourself and loved ones to concentrate more on getting better, supporting one another and keeping a regular lifestyle in the future.
Your medical insurance in Florida should help you when it comes time to pay, but have you taken into account all of the other expenses you’ll have? What happens when you’re not working? Will you need to hire extra childcare? By having a plan of action for a medical emergency you can live your everyday life knowing that if the unexpected happens, you won’t be completely caught off guard.
Are you prepared for a medical emergency?
Preparing for medical emergency in your family goes deeper than just having a home emergency plan in place. Medical bills from previous years can stay listed on your credit report and if they’ve been past due, doing things like getting a home loan can be impossible. Whether it’s from a trip to the ER after getting terribly sick or being in a car accident, unless you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness it’s likely you don’t expect that you’ll end up in the emergency room. But that’s the point – medical emergencies can’t be planned but the better prepared you are to pay unexpected medical bills, the more likely you’ll avoid long-term debt or your own financial crisis.
Research hospitals in your city.
When a child plays a sport or is at a friend’s house and there’s some type of accident, it’s likely the child will be rushed to whichever hospital is nearest, but not every hospital takes every type of insurance. After being sent home, you could receive a bill in the mail for thousands of dollars if your medical insurance isn’t accepted or if it refuses to pay a bill for a non-preferred hospital. Obviously in some situations choosing a specific Florida hospital isn’t possible, but you can avoid being billed by somewhere non-preferred if you know where to go ahead of time. Take the time to check online or call your medical insurance provider in Florida and figure out which hospitals are preferred and what your insurance will cover there. If you’re not sure who to call or what to ask, your Florida insurance broker will likely be able to guide you on who to contact. After that, make sure your family knows the plan. Have your family’s school, work and activities emergency records say that if a situation occurs to take them to specific hospitals if possible.
It’s also a good idea to know which doctors in the emergency room are in your insurance network as well. Again, if there’s a time crunch to save yours or your family member’s life you obviously don’t want to be picky – safety should always come first – but if it isn’t a life threatening injury and waiting a couple hours won’t further the injury or illness, knowing which doctor to request could save you months or years of paying off a big ER bill.
If you’re not in Florida when an emergency occurs you can always keep your insurance contact information handy and call your insurance company to ask where to go. If you travel to a specific place frequently, keep a list of hospitals to go to on you so you’re never caught unprepared.
Know which Urgent Care center to use.
Urgent Care centers are popping up all over the country because of the need for medical attention at a reasonable cost. If a child breaks a leg and goes to the emergency room, even if it’s a preferred network, depending on your deductible you could be paying for the visit, x-rays and meds out-of-pocket. By taking that same child to an urgent care facility that’s in-network, costs often are much lower. Remember that urgent care facilities and ERs are not the same. Urgent care centers are great for illness that has lasted many days, broken bones that aren’t life threatening, or other injuries. Life-threatening illnesses or wounds should be treated immediately at an ER. There’s a time to save money and a time to save a life and if it is between the two, the latter should always take precedence.
As with hospitals, do your research on which centers are part of your Florida insurance company’s provider network. Keep a list of which places you can go to. If you’re uninsured, consider going to urgent care to save money as well since the cost versus the ER is much lower. Knowing the costs at different centers, as well as the reputations of the physicians and care, will help you make a wise decision for yourself and your family.
Look over your insurance again.
Sometimes if you haven’t used your insurance in a while, you may forget exactly what the policy from your Florida insurance broker says. Make sure you read over what is and isn’t covered so that you know what issues won’t be covered when you visit the ER doctor. If your medical emergency isn’t a true emergency and you don’t pay attention to what is covered in your policy, you will likely find your pockets much lighter after your trip to the hospital.
Don’t be afraid to ask your pharmacist questions.
Medication mistakes can be one way that you’ll land in the emergency room – especially if you’re the one not paying attention to what you’re taking. Prevent a medical emergency by asking your pharmacist questions about what the side effects of your medication are, the correct way to take it and if there’s anything else you need to know about it. Also remember that doctors can make mistakes too, so if you have any medication allergies, ask the pharmacist if that medication will be a problem. Talking to your pharmacist about all of these things can mean you avoid a trip to the emergency room and the bill that comes with it. Your pharmacist may even be able to recommend a generic version of the prescription, which could save you more money, but check with your doctor first!
When it comes to being prepared for a medical emergency, your Florida health insurance broker can most definitely help you with keeping your insurance information in order, but ultimately you’re responsible for being prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Make sure you have medical files that are easily accessible and up to date at home, know which hospitals are in your preferred network and have a credit card with available credit ready in case insurance doesn’t cover your emergency room visit. No one wants to have a medical emergency but we can’t control everything. By being prepared, you can make the stress of an emergency lessened with the knowledge that you are ready to handle it.