I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
Medical Loans: How to Get a Personal Loan for Medical Costs in the U.S.
The burden of huge medical bills leads many immigrants and visa holders to financial insolvency or bankruptcy. Even those with medical insurance can find themselves saddled with substantial medical debt because of high deductibles.
And this just applies to those with insurance.
One option that individuals can turn to is a medical loan. A medical loan is a personal loan which is aimed specifically at covering medical expenses. Read this article for a breakdown of how medical loans work, and some tips on reducing healthcare costs.
How Much Does the Average Person in the U.S. Spend on Healthcare
Healthcare costs are notoriously high in America, with the average American spending $9,596 on healthcare in 2012, a significant increase from $7,700 in 2007.
This per capita spending is double the average of other developed nations, and costs are expected to continue increasing. Average spending on healthcare in the U.S. is projected to reach $14,944 in 2023. This is in contrast to an average yearly healthcare expenditure of $146 in 1960, or nine times lower than now, adjusting for inflation.
Families, once the deductible is accounted for, pay an average of $18,000 per year, while individuals pay $8,210, including the deductible. While young people pay the least for healthcare, 18-24 year old’s average healthcare costs still range from $5,000-$10,000 per year.
What is a Medical Loan?
With these costs in mind, it’s no wonder that so many people in America find themselves unable to cover healthcare bills. There are options available for those who need healthcare funding, though, and one of the simplest and most accessible is a medical loan.
A medical loan is simply a personal loan, but with the explicit intention of using the funds for medical bills. Medical loans are ideal for individuals facing big medical bills and high deductibles. People often must pay thousands of dollars on the deductible anytime they incur a substantial medical expense.
A medical loan can quickly provide the funds that you need to cover these costs and get you through a gap in funding your healthcare.
How to Take Out a Medical Loan with Stilt
Immigrants and noncitizens, in particular, can have great difficulty covering these healthcare expenses because they often cannot obtain loans from the big banks. Lenders discriminate against borrowers without a lengthy credit history in the United States, and the potential long-term instability of visa status scares many lenders away.
Stilt is a lender that provides loans specifically for immigrants and noncitizens. By focusing on factors like employment prospects, income, and education, Stilt broadens the range of eligibility to include immigrants.
Getting a loan with Stilt is very simple, and involves only three steps:
- Complete an application: this only takes a few minutes and involves you divulging important information on your finances, employment, and education. Stilt reviews this information and completes a soft credit check.
- Receive a decision: within 24 hours of submitting your application, Stilt should respond with a decision. If your application is accepted, you will qualify for a certain range of loan amounts, and an interest rate. From there, you can choose a repayment schedule.
- Receive the funds and start making payments: with the terms of the loan agreed upon, you only have to sign a promissory note agreeing to the terms and the funds will be transferred into your account. Then, you start making monthly payments according to the repayment schedule.
While immigrants and noncitizens may be denied loans by the big banks, Stilt has disbursed millions of dollars in loans to thousands of immigrants.
5 Ways to Bring Down Your Healthcare Costs
Once you have the funds for your medical bills secured, you can start thinking about reducing healthcare costs. There are a number of strategies that you can employ to bring down your medical bills, see the following list for a few.
1. Shop Around for Health Insurance
It is important that you tailor your health plan for your anticipated medical needs. The market provides a range of plans, some with lower monthly premiums and higher deductibles, and others with high premiums and low deductibles.
If you do not get sick often or do not anticipate medical expenses, then a plan with a lower premium may be suitable. Those more prone to illness, who may incur greater medical expenses, can benefit from a plan with a higher premium, which will likely provide more comprehensive coverage.
Investigate different healthcare providers and the plans that they offer; there may be a plan out there that’s more affordable and that better fits your needs.
2. Pay Attention to Your Medical Bills
Medical offices are known for overcharging, so reviewing your medical bills closely can save you big if you are overcharged. This is true of insurance companies as well: if they deny you coverage, inquire further and examine your plan for details on coverage.
3. Understand Your Benefits
Healthcare plans are extremely complicated, and many people struggle understanding what exactly their coverage is. It is best, if you are uncertain about anything, to call the number on the back of your insurance card and speak to a representative from the insurance company.
Also, understanding your benefits will prepare you for any steps that you may have to take for coverage, like preauthorization. You should know which care providers are covered by your insurance as well, so you don’t overpay for an out-of-network provider. .
4. Don’t Put Off Going to the Doctor
Oftentimes, people avoid initially going to the doctor to avoid the expense. Then, the sickness worsens, and they ultimately require care that is much more costly down the line. By staying on top of your health and going to the doctor if you ever feel yourself getting sick, you can stop more serious health problems in their tracks.
5. Sign Up for a Health Savings Account
A health-savings account lets you contribute pre-tax money to a fund that you can use to cover medical expenses, and lets you invest the money in the meantime. This is a simple way that you can both prepare for medical expenses and expand the funds that you have available to cover these expenses. Health-savings account balances can be rolled over from year to year, and the annual contribution limit is relatively high, at $6,900.
Immigrants and noncitizens can find themselves, a particularly precarious position if they have to pay high deductibles and incur substantial medical costs. The difficulty of getting credit and the cost of healthcare even forces some immigrants to leave the country, unable to cover their expenses. Personal loans can help you get through these patches, and Stilt is a lender with extensive experience working with immigrant communities.