Sunday, March 3, 2024

Emergency Payments

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Back in December, my mother's dog Precious needed to be taken to a 24 veterinary hospital for emergency surgery. (Precious is fine now, so don't worry about that. She came through the surgery like a champ and has completely recovered.)

Miss Precious, Christmas 2023

Like most emergencies, this came late at night and without warning, so neither my mother nor I were at our mental best. This is one of the reasons why I prep, so instead of having to think I just got dressed, grabbed my ER bag, and got in the car. Unfortunately, my mother isn't a prepper, and she tends to panic in high-stress situations, which is why I prep for her. This will become relevant in a moment. 

Long story short, we got Precious in the car, took her to the hospital, had her seen, and were told that the surgeon needed to operate on her immediately. All well and good, but less good was the price quoted to us, which was just shy of $2000. Given that Precious could die during the operation, we were asked to pay before services were rendered. 

Normally this wouldn't be a problem as we have that much in our emergency funds. However, remember that panic I mentioned? Mom forgot to bring her checkbook along. She did have her wallet with her debit card (we don't use credit cards anymore, given the debt that my father got us in with them due to his dementia), but the debit card had a hard limit on it that wouldn't cover half of the procedure. 

If I knew then what I knew now, I'd ask mom to give me her debit card, call the 24 hour customer service number on the back, and have her talk to whomever answered about temporarily lifting that limit. If you didn't know you could do that, now you do, so keep that in mind. 

Unfortunately we didn't know that at the time, so we needed to get credit another way. The receptionist at the hospital told us about CareCredit and Scratchpay, which are both businesses which help finance medical bills. They are functionally the same, with the chief difference being that CareCredit doesn't do as deep of a credit check as Scratchpay does, and so were told to apply to CareCredit first so that if we were rejected for it the credit check wouldn't hurt our chances for Scratchpay approval. 

Fortunately for us, we were approved (likely because my mother had clawed us out of the debt my father got us into) and we were able to pay the hospital for Precious' surgery. As of now, Precious is doing fine, the debt is paid off, and we have a CareCredit account in case I (who can't afford health insurance) get hurt. 

So remember: if you ever need to pay a medical bill in the middle of the night on a weekend and don't have the money for it, you can apply to one of these medical financing companies. 

This knowledge weighs nothing, so always carry it with you.

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