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Don’t get caught off-guard by this sneaky surprise

The day you get home from the hospital after a serious health scare, you’re ready to send love letters to everyone who helped save your life.

The doctors… the nurses… the janitor… they’re all your best friends now, and you’ll tell everyone who’ll listen about how you got the best care in the world from that hospital.

Then the bill comes.

Now you’re not writing letters. You’re using them – four at a time – to give that hospital a piece of your mind before it tries to make off with a hunk of your bank account.

Yes, my friend, new research shows the average patient ends up getting slammed with a surprise bill for $622 after a hospital stay.

In many cases, the cash register starts ringing when an out-of-network doctor wanders into your room. You probably don’t know the guy from Adam, much less which insurance he takes.

He’s just the doctor sent to your room, and you accept it – and you may not even have a say in the matter.

The study finds these guys make a killing with their billing, charging up to 800 percent of the going Medicare rates.

Heck, even “in-network” docs take advantage of the situation by charging as much as 300 percent of the standard rate just because they’re in the hospital.

That’s why this can happen to you, even if you have decent insurance or Medicare coverage – because all those copays, “co-insurance” costs, deductibles, add-on fees, and more add up fast.

This study focused on patients under the age of 65, but seniors don’t have it any better.

Some of them might get it even worse, depending on the coverage.

One study earlier this year found that hospital patients are increasingly hit with bills topping $1,000 – and some of them are charged $2,000 or more, all for “care” they thought was covered by insurance.

So, do yourself a favor: Say a prayer to thank your Maker for the health you’ve got now, and ask Him to remain that way. Then, just in case He’s got other plans in store for you, start socking a little cash away.

Make sure you’ve got a slush fund that can carry you through a medical emergency or at least take some of the sting out of those unexpected fees.

I’d recommend a minimum of $500, but $1,000 or more would be even better… if you can spare it.

Hope you never need it, but make sure it’s there just the same.

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