How are families able to pay for high medical bills incurred by loved ones? Fortunately, there are many ways of facing this very real crisis that besets many families every year. Whether the crisis calls for a huge sum of money or something less, the following resources are the most common ways people meet their medical expenses:

Private Insurance

This form of assistance varies widely from policy to policy. Also, about half of all adults have minimal insurance coverage for end-of-live situations. Even for those who are lucky enough to have policies that cover these stressful events, policy holders often end up paying between 10 and 90 percent of the cost out of their own pockets.

Viatical Settlements

People who are gravely ill often need to gather up as much money as possible to meet medical bill balances that continue to climb. One way to do this is by selling your life insurance policy to a third party. The buyer of the policy continues to make regular premium payments and will receive the full death benefit when you die. You get an immediate cash payout that is somewhat greater than the surrender value but less than the full death benefit. Viatical settlements can be an effective way of accessing life insurance benefits while you're still alive.

Medicare

Medicare is one of the best sources for end-of-life medical expenses. For people who have Medicare Advantage plans, a supplemental form of Medicare with added benefits, coverage amounts can be as high as 100 percent. In fact, for the majority of adults, the only hospice care coverage they have is through Medicare. As long as a doctor certifies a person as having less than 60 days to live, Medicare will pay for the entire cost of the care. Most private insurance policies have hospice plans similar to Medicare's, but they are sometimes not as comprehensive.

Savings

Nearly 45 percent of all people, and their families, who face hospice or other end-of-life medical expenses completely empty their savings accounts in order to cover the out-of-pocket amounts. And that data only takes into account those who had savings to begin with. The fact of the matter is that end-of-life expenses can run quite high before a move to a hospice. Surgeries, expensive drug treatments and long-term therapies can drain a modest savings account in a matter of weeks.

Crowdfunding

One of the newer resources for chronically ill patients and their families is crowdfunding. In 2018 alone, the top three funding platforms brought in more than $400 million for those who sought medical expense coverage for life-threatening conditions or life-ending diseases. The year before, in 2017, the amount was less than half that. Some industry experts think that crowd funding will become a common way for families to raise money needed to pay medical bills. There's even a cottage industry springing up that includes specialists who offer their services, for a fee, to families who want to use crowd funding platforms in order to raise cash for medical expenses.

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