Last Minute Finance Options for Medical Emergencies

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Medical emergencies are an unwelcome reality of life. Considering that government hospitals in India leave a lot to be desired, medical insurance is a necessity, but even that has its limitations. Many policies come with waiting periods for pre-existing conditions. Then there is also the fact that they have network limitations, exclusions and above all, can only cover up to a finite amount. 

Let us say that you used up all your medical insurance and another emergency arises. In such a condition what choices are you left with? The common options are using credit cards, liquidating your FDs and other investments, borrowing from friends and family or an instant medical loan from an app. 

· Using Credit Cards: This is the most common last-minute solution and is also very problematic. First, the level of credit card acceptance in India is very low. If you are in a big hospital in a big city, they will take credit cards. In small hospitals or clinics, across the country, the chances of cards being accepted are very low. 

Then there is also the interest rate problem. Charging things on credit cards when you do not have the financial leeway to pay for them in cash means that you will not be able to pay your card in full when the bill comes. Thus, you will have to carry the balance and face the exorbitant interest rates charged by the issuers. 

· Liquidating FDs and Investments: This is perhaps the least expensive option but is also the slowest choice that you can make. If you have any investments in stocks or bonds, you can tell your share broker to sell them in the market.  

However, the process may take some time. Besides, the shares you may be holding can be currently at lower prices in which case you suffer losses. Then there is the case of fixed deposits in financial institutions. If your FD is rather new, and you cancel it, the FI may charge fees, which means you lose money. The process is also rather slow and does not work on weekends. This makes the process not very reliable in the face of an emergency.

· App-based instant loans: Instant medical loan from an app has become perhaps the most popular way right now to get money for your emergency medical needs. These are offered by new-age fintech companies which have become popular with the emergence of smartphones, high-speed mobile Internet services such as 4G LTE and digital KYC services powered by online Aadhaar authentication.  

These apps offer quick loan disbursal, low-interest rates, and flexible lending processes. The biggest advantage is that you get cash in your account immediately which you can withdraw from an ATM or even earn money in app wallets for use where such payments are accepted. 

· Borrowing from friends and family: This is another cheap method to get money but it is very unpredictable and may prove embarrassing. First of all, asking for money from friends and family can be rather damaging to one’s self-esteem, particularly when the relatives or friends do not have as tight bonds with you. Another very important factor is that the possibility of someone actually having so much cash in hand or at home can be slim. While it might not be difficult to manage a few thousand rupees, actually being able to manage lakhs of rupees instantly or having so much money at home is rather uncommon. 

Then there is also the fact that such borrowings come only as emergency stopgaps, and not as long-term loans. You are expected to return them in a few months, if not weeks or days. This can be a bit complicated since there is no concept of paying back in instalments.

· Credit card cash advance: This is perhaps the most secure way to get fast cash in hand but there are two problems with credit card cash advance. First, you will have to find an ATM of the company which issued your credit card. This can be a challenge if you have taken a card from a smaller lender. But the biggest problem is that credit card cash advance comes with very high-interest rates and very hefty processing fees. In fact, credit card cash advance interest rates can even be higher than actually carrying a revolving balance on your card. Use this only as the very last resort, when you have absolutely no other choice left.

Finally, we can only say that while there are choices abound, each has its own limitations and problems. If you are really pressed for time and do not want to be sucked dry by servicing the medical debts, you can turn to an instant loan app. It is very fast because you can have the money in your account in a matter of minutes. 

It is also very simple because the entire process is digital and can be done in a matter of minutes and finally, it is very flexible because most fintech companies do not have to adhere to smothering regulations such as traditional financial institutions. Even in interest terms, these apps offer you really good deals. Thus. in the tough times, consider turning to your smartphone.

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