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Out-of-pocket hospital costs: $1,000 per visit and rising

Do you have an extra $1,000 lying around? Better do so, just in case you have the displeasure of staying in the hospital.

According to new research from the University of Michigan, out-of-pocket hospitalization costs rose 37 percent from 2009 to 2013, with the average patient paying more than $1,000 per hospital visit.

Blame it on the 86 percent rise in deductibles and the 33 percent increase in coinsurance, which helped push the rise of out-of-pocket costs faster than health insurance premiums.

It’s enough to make you sick. Think now about where you might get $1,000 to pay that bill.

Adjust your withholdings temporarily

If you typically receive income tax refunds of more than $1,000 each year, adjust your withholdings. Speak with a tax professional first. “An adjustment can increase your take home pay. Save the ‘extra’ money until you reach $1,000,” says accountant Frederick Towles, with The Towles Group in Uniondale.

Sell stuff

“Clean the house from top to bottom, including the garage. Sell items you don’t use on eBay or Craigslist,” says Towles.

Challenge your bill

According to Medical Billing Advocates of America and Medical Recovery Services, 90 percent of medical bills they receive contain costly errors. Ask for an itemized bill. You could be charged for services you never received.

“Don’t be afraid to negotiate,” says Nedalee Thomas, founder of PrincessPower.com, a lifestyle and financial advice website. “You might get a discount for paying a lump sum, or using cash instead of a card.”

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