(Closed) Medical bills: Pay off upfront or make a payment arrangement?

posted 6 years ago in Legal
  • poll: How do you handle your medical bills?
    Paid them off upfront. : (16 votes)
    38 %
    Make a payment arrangement and chip away at the balance. : (20 votes)
    48 %
    Medical bills schmedical bills. I’m not payin’ ‘em! : (1 votes)
    2 %
    My insurance doesn’t suck so I never have to pay out of pocket. : (5 votes)
    12 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    3886 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    I would ask my accountant if there is any tax benefit to structuring the payments so they span across two years. Generally, you do need to have out-of-pocket expenses that total over a certain percentage of your income before there is any tax break given, but I am not sure if the date the debt is incurred is what factors in on your taxes, or if it’s the date that the debt was paid. 

    If you can get a tax break by making payments in both 2012 and 2013 then that’s the best approach; that money will be spent one way or the other but if you can get a hundred bucks back from the feds, then do it.

    If there’s no tax benefit, and no interest-bearing debt to pay down first, then I’d just pay it all off now.  The current interest rates on checking or savings accounts are so low that you are not going to earn interest in a large enough sum to make it worth managing payments for 12 months or however long (and even if you’re doing electronic automatic payments, that is still one more thing to manage while you’re balancing your checkbook).

    Post # 4
    Member
    583 posts
    Busy bee

    I am a lucky biotch and have an expensive disease (think $40k/year just to keep me kind of healthy) that I’ll never be able to afford so my parents pay my $2,500 deductible every year and then after that, there is no copay for anything.  If my parents weren’t so guilty (it’s a genetic disease so they feel responsible, poor guys) gracious though, I would choose the payment plan option.  I don’t even have $2,500 in the bank and I meet the deductible every year by February.

    Post # 5
    Member
    9629 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @UpstateCait:   I had a car accident a couple of years ago and insurance didn’t cover all of it.  However, I paid the entire balance right up front because the hospital offered me a discount (I think 10%, can’t remember) if I did.  It was worth it, plus it was one less bill hanging over my head.

    Maybe your hospital would do the same, offer a discount for payment upfront, it’s worth a call.  ?

    Post # 6
    Member
    2401 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    When I didn’t have insurance and had just graduated college without a full time job, I set up payment plans and paid off a $2k bill in 2 years. I find that a lot of hopsitals will work with you and will accept any form of payment as long as you are honest and actually work towards it.

    I also got tax benefits from it, so that was a bonus I didn’t expect.  

    Post # 7
    Member
    11753 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I just went through this! I got a 2k medical bill from an ER visit.  I could pay it off up front but chose to set up a payment plan – they give you 18 months to pay it off. I ended up paying like $50/month.  I have like $200 left and FI is always like just pay it off already but I’m like why?! It’s interest free, might as well keep on the plan and have extra $ to go towards other bills! 

    Post # 8
    Member
    12830 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I would pay it off upfront, just because I don’t like having extra debt hanging over my head.  But interest free plans aren’t bad!

    Post # 9
    Member
    6824 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2011

    If we have the money we would pay up front.  That is what we did after munckin was born for my portion of the bill and munckin’s part.  Thank goodness though for my insurance.  Since munchkin had to stay in the NCIU the bill before insurance was just as much as buying a house! 

    Post # 10
    Member
    5670 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2010

    I know my medical bills would be sent to collection in 90 days if I had an overdue balance. If you can make payment over 7 months with no penalties or interest then I think that would be the best course of action.

    Post # 11
    Member
    4416 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    @MrsWBS:  Exactly! Interest-free means take your sweet time with it. I bought a couch a while back that cost $900 and I took a year to pay it off. I knew full well it was ridiculous, but that didn’t stop me!

    Post # 12
    Member
    2320 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I’ve pretty much always made payment plans.  I have Kaiser and they require at least 10% of the bill be paid each month. And they do offer a slight discount if you pay in full but it’s only if the amount is over $1k.

    Post # 13
    Member
    4275 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    Lucky for us, each of us have a Sterling card to pay any out of pockets costs. Quick info: A Sterling card is a pre-paid debit card with limited use.  It renews every year (when LO is expected to be born), so we have been using the card to pay the medical bills off each month. If the bill from LO is extremely large and by some chance both our cards do not have enough funds, then we would have to pay it off in chunks.

    It would be extremely annoying to have to pay them with our own money though. So, I feel you.

    Post # 15
    Member
    11273 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2012

    i personally don’t like to have any sort of debt so if it is at all possible, i would pay it off in full. 

    it’s a good idea to check with the hospital to see if they will give you a discount for paying in full.

    Post # 16
    Member
    2106 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    I voted before you said zero interest. I’ve never had a bill so big that I didn’t pay it off all at once… but if it was zero interest. I would set up a payment plan so that I had money in the bank, just in case. 

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