Credit Cards, Stimulus Funds, & Surprise Covid Bills On ‘How To Money’

On this episode of How To Money, Matt and Joel discuss surprise Covid medical bills, the progress – or lack thereof – on a new stimulus package, and what to do if your credit limit is being slashed. Covid tests are free of charge by law, but some people have been surprised with bills from testing sites and hospitals ranging from $100 to as much as $3,000! If you’re one of these people, the first thing to do is check your bill. Sometimes, they’ll administer additional tests for pneumonia or other diseases at the same time as your Covid test, and you are responsible for those charges. If you do get Covid and require hospitalization, all the treatment you receive will be your responsibility, too. But if you see a charge specifically for a Covid test, you can let them know that you don’t owe a dime for it.

Stimulus talks have been stop-and-go on Capitol Hill as Republicans and Democrats argue over what should be in it, but meanwhile, real people are suffering. Now that the additional federal unemployment benefits have dried up, many families are returning to a barebones state payment, if anything. As the debates drag on, it’s looking likely that we’ll see extended federal unemployment benefits as well as additional stimulus checks for individuals, but amounts remain to be seen. In the meantime, the guys go over some cost-cutting things to look at, such as tax-free weekends to make big purchases. 16 states participate in tax-free sales days, so make sure you’re taking advantage if you can.  

While we’re looking at our bottom lines, so are credit companies – and they’re slashing limits, sometimes without their customers’ knowledge. 25% of Americans have had a credit cards account closed involuntarily, and one in three had limits cut and accidentally maxed out cards, negatively impacting their credit scores. The guys remind us of some credit card Golden Rules, like using them at least once per billing period, so they aren’t closed for inactivity; never charging more than 30% of your credit limit on one card; and of course, always paying the bill in full and on time. All these practices will help you maintain a healthy credit score and you may be able to get your limits restored. If you’re still working on building credit, the guys suggest checking into Experian Boost, which allows on-time payments for utilities and even Netflix to impact your score instead of just loans and cards. They also get into supply chain shortages, work-from-home developments, and what not to do with your Paycheck Protection loan; get all this great information and more on How To Money.

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