When It Hits You Out of the Blue: 5 Strategies to Handle Unexpected Medical Costs

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When you are hit with unexpected medical costs, it can be upsetting. It might throw off your whole budget, and you will have to do some adjusting on the fly. But medical expenses are not frivolous. They are necessary expenditures, so you’re going to have to find some way to absorb the cost. There are various methods of doing that, though, that have proven effective for people. These are five of the best ones.

Use Your Nest Egg

Using your nest egg is not an ideal solution, but when there are unexpected medical costs, it’s not likely that anything you do will be entirely pain-free. If you have a chunk of money that you were saving for a new car, a family vacation, or something less than essential, now might be the time to consider using it. You won’t want to do it, but using the “rainy day fund” can be a way to stay out of debt.

Check the Math

If you’re getting hit with a slew of medical bills, or even a single extremely high one, it pays to make doubly sure that you are liable for all of it, and that there were no mistakes in the addition. Many bills contain other errors besides math as well. You might be charged for a service that you did not receive, so make sure that your statement is itemized. If yours is not, request one that is. In all likelihood, you won’t be dealing with small sums of money on these bills, and any error could potentially be a difference of hundreds of dollars or more.

Monthly Installment Loans

You can also use monthly installment loans if you need some money urgently. A monthly installment loan is a loan where you, the borrower, must return the principle through monthly payments of a fixed amount. Those amounts are amortized, meaning that the interest is a part of the payments that you are making. These sorts of loans make more sense for you if you’re in a pinch than some of the other varieties out there. Of course, you will still need to go through an approval process.

Find Out If You’re Affected by Balance Billing

If you went to the hospital and several different medical professionals treated you, then it is possible that one of them might have been out of your network. If that is the case, then they are going to charge you a higher rate. That’s called balance billing, and it might be part of the reason your bill is so high. If that happens to you, check to see if you are in a state where there are consumer protections against it. If there are, then you should be able to get your bill reduced.


Some people might be surprised that this is even an option, but if you’re truly that strapped for cash, you can call the hospital or your doctor’s office and try to get your bill reduced or set up a payment plan that is more reasonable. Doctors and other medical professionals understand that sometimes a patient cannot pay all at once. Depending on your situation, you might get some of the cost deferred or forgiven.

Unexpected medical bills can be a burden, but there are lots of different options for dealing with them, so don’t despair. You might need to get creative, but you should be able to figure out a way to pay them over time, if not immediately.


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My Life, I Guess is a personal finance and lifestyle blog by Amanda, an older millennial from Ontario, Canada that strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making the most of whatever life throws at you.