a person’s medical bills will consume a signifcant portion of their annual income. This is where the medical expense table in the previous chapter comes in handy. You need to have a running total of everything you owe on your medical bills and what new expenses you expect to incur in the next 12 months. Again, if you talk to the right person, he or she will consider discounts whether you have insurance or not. For example:
Let’s say you make $100,000 per year and your annual adjusted gross income is $73,000. You have health insurance; however, you have a high deductible health plan with a $5,000 deductible and 40% coinsurance. You have a heart attack and are admitted to the hospital through the ER. You have two stents put in your heart immediately and return several months later to have a quadruple by-pass surgery. The two hospital admissions, cardiac catheterization, major surgery, and all the copays on the drugs you are now taking have racked up a total patient responsibility this year of $19,000. So, when you talk to the biller, you say, “My medical bills are going to be 26% of my adjusted gross income this year and this will cause signifcant hardship. I have copies of all my bills and my most recent tax return, am I eligible for fnancial aid?”
Some hospitals will work out special plans to prevent medical expenses from ever exceeding 25% of the patient/family’s annual income in a single year.
Employment status

If you are unemployed, you make less than 100% of FPL. Your medical bills are also going to be a signifcant portion of your income, because you have no income.


If you are uninsured, what is your uninsured or “self-pay” discount on charges? If you combine a standard 70% uninsured or “self-pay” discount with one of the previously mentioned poverty

56 // The Medical Bill Survival Guide