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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Hospitals 101


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When choosing a hospital, either for emergencies or for an elective procedure (one in which you have a choice about timing), choose the hospital that is best for your medical needs and best for you. In general the key is the quality of care -- not fancy lobbies or art on the walls. .

It is also advisable to pre-plan before entering a hospital. Focus on things to do before you enter the hospital, as well as entering a hospital through the front door on a voluntary basis or through the emergency room.

While in the hospital:

  • Participate actively in your care to make sure you maximize your stay, minimize medical errors and risk of infection, and save money.
  • Have a family member or friend with you as much of the time as possible to act as a patient advocate, to make sure you get the tests, treatments and drugs that are scheduled, and that people who touch you follow anti-infection guidelines.
  • Learn what each of the medical people who visit you do - and, if your insurance has a network, whether they are in your network. For instance, there may be a hospitalist - a doctor who works in hospital and coordinates care. 

Before being discharged, be sure to get a discharge plan.

Review your hospital bill even if you have insurance. Studies show that most hospital bills have errors - usually in the hospital's favor. If you have insurance, you may be responsible for "balance billing" - charges for out of network services. If you are, steps to take include reviewing the bill and negotiating. If you don't have insurance, there are tips for negotiating the bill. 


  • A hospital and the health care providers in it cannot discriminate against anyone because of their health condition.
  • You can bring your own drugs. If you take an expensve medication, it may be worth bringing it with you to the hospital. The drug must be in its original container with the original label.

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