It adds up quite quickly
Saving Money During a Hospital Visit
by Rich Finzer
An Unaffordable Emergency Room Bill
Get the Most Out of Your Next Doctor's Visit
Surviving the Medical Maze
Like the airline and banking industries, the healthcare industry is subject to stringent government controls, including Medicare reimbursement rates and other financial requirements. However, this article is not about debating the logic of those restrictions or the rapidly escalating cost of healthcare for all Americans. Like everything else I write, it's about saving money.
Hospitals also face additional financial pressures as their treatment rates/charges are often government regulated as well. Being squeezed financially from both sides of the ledger, hospitals have been forced to come up with a few subtle revenue generators. I witnessed a trio of these tactics during a very recent one-week hospitalization and successfully avoided all of these insidious little charges.
Information: My semi-private room was outfitted with a pair of television sets. To fire up the one facing my bed, the daily rental cost was a not-so-cool $8 per day. I could have spent $56 to watch the same three crummy local stations I can watch for free at home. I opted instead for a simple clock-radio, which my wife brought me from home. And, radio has one huge advantage over TV; you can close your eyes and still listen to the radio!
Transportation: Walking barefoot through the ward was obviously verboten, but for $5, I could have purchased a misshapen, one-size-fits-nobody pair of "sock-like" foot coverings. Each appeared to be fashioned from recycled dryer lint and possessed a life span of roughly one day. My wife brought me a couple pairs of my own socks and my trusty bedroom slippers, and I saved another $35.
Carbonation: For washing down pills, the hospital always provided iced water, but if I wanted a can of the "real thing," I had to order and purchase it through the cafeteria. Those folks were all too happy to nick me $2 for a diminutive eight-ounce can of my favorite cola. Fortunately, the "War Department" rode to the rescue with 12-ounce cans from home. Poured over the ice I'd saved, each time I drank one, I not only saved $1.50, but I also enjoyed 50 percent more cola!
With the exception of having a baby, no one looks forward to a hospital visit. So while your body is being healed, don't let sneaky charges eat away at your wallet like a new form of cancer.
Rich Finzer resides in upstate New York. During his 43 years as a writer, he has published over 1,000 newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles. His first book Maple on Tap is currently available through his publisher ACRES USA. His novel Taking the Tracks is available through Amazon.com.
Take the Next Step
- Get free health insurance price comparisons for individuals and families.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
More Debt Tips & Tools
- 6 smart strategies for paying off your credit cards
- 5 great second jobs to bring in extra cash
- Pay down debt now or save: Here's how to choose
- Can I get a debt consolidation loan with bad credit?
- House sharing with another single mom with kids to make ends meet
- Is debt consolidation a good idea?
- Can a hospital send you to collections if you keep making payments?
- This week's Readers' Tips
- Reduce your debt step by step
- Am I a good candidate for credit counseling?
- Do I have a debt problem?
- Compare personal loan rates
- Get free answers to financial questions
- Get free answers to legal questions
- Calculate the real cost of your debt
- Debt pay-down calculator
- Calculate the true cost of paying just the minimum