How to Pay for Medical Expenses That Aren’t Covered by Insurance

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Seeking out medical care is one of the best things you can do for your health, but the costs associated with certain types of care can add up quickly. Whether you’re faced with unexpected expenses or planning to undergo treatments that are not covered by insurance, facing a slew of medical bills can feel overwhelming. In fact, a survey from Discover Personal Loans found that 63% of Americans are anxious about paying medical debt, and eight in 10 of those with existing medical debt have postponed getting care due to the cost.*

The good news is that there are several ways to limit the costs associated with medical care and some great financing options are available for any costs that can’t be reduced.

Compare Different Providers and Hospitals

Depending on the type of care you need, procedures and appointments can vary significantly between providers. This is especially true for elective procedures such as fertility treatments or LASIK surgery. 

Researching several different providers and hospitals is a helpful way to ensure that you’re able to keep costs to a minimum, while getting the care you need. Your insurance company can be a great starting point, offering you a list of in-network providers. From there, we suggest calling each of these providers to find out their rates and any additional costs that may be associated with office visits or procedures.

Pay in Advance to Access a Reduced Rate

Another way to minimize medical expenses is by offering to pay for part or all of your care upfront. This can help to reduce the overall costs and reduce your financial responsibility.

It’s worth noting, however, that prepayment discounts aren’t automatic—you’ll need to check with your provider to see what discounts they have available and how much you’ll need to pay in advance in order to secure those discounts. Still, many providers and hospitals do offer this option so it’s certainly worth considering. 

Request Generic Medications Whenever Possible

One of the most overlooked ways to save money is to opt for generic prescriptions. Since the cost between brand name and generic medications can vary significantly, this can be a helpful way to save, especially when it comes to regular prescriptions. 

Studies have shown that generic medications are generally 80% to 85% less expensive than brand-name drugs, meaning they could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

Consider a Personal Loan

For any remaining expenses not covered by insurance, a Discover® personal loan can be an effective financing option to repay medical bills. The personal loan can be used to consolidate previous medical bills into one set regular monthly payment, or it can be taken out prior to medical care.  

With flexible repayment terms ranging from 36 to 84 months, Discover Personal Loans allows you to find a monthly payment that works for your budget and your timeframe. You can borrow from $2,500 to $35,000 and lock in a fixed rate so your set regular monthly payment will never change. Finally, there are no fees of any kind as long as you pay on time. Use Discover’s Personal Loan Calculator to estimate your payments or check your rate before you apply with no impact to your credit score. 

Medical expenses are a big source of stress for many Americans, a trend that appears poised to continue in the years to come. By doing your research and weighing your options ahead of time, you can establish a plan which enables you to pay off medical bills more quickly.

* About the Survey

A national survey of 1,515 U.S. residents ages 18 and up was commissioned by Discover and conducted by Dynata (formerly Research Now/SSI), an independent survey research firm, between September 23 and September 27, 2021. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/-3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. Generations are defined as: Generation Z, born after 1997; millennials, born between 1981 and 1996; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980; and Baby Boomers+, born before 1964.

Explore More with Discover Personal Loans: Money Moments: How to Plan for Home Improvements and Life Events

*Discover makes loans without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Discover Personal Loans. “Americans with Medical Debt Are More Worried about Making Payments than Getting Better.”

  2. GoodRX Health. “What's the Difference Between a Brand-Name Drug and a Generic Name Drug?,”