How to apply for financial assistance for medical bills – A lot of families and individuals in the United States of America are impacted by enormous medical debt and around a quarter of low-income adults are in debt of more than $5000. If you’re struggling financially to pay a costly medical bill then do not worry as help and assistance are available for you. This guide will throw light on financial assistance programs that will help you to cover your medical bills.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria And Documents Required To Receive Financial Assistance For Medical Bills Payment?
- The eligibility criteria for availing financial assistance to cover medical bills are as follows
- Be a citizen of the United States, legal permanent resident or an eligible non-citizen
- Must meet the age and medical condition requirements of the program
- Must belong to the low-income category and have income within program limitations
- Have a valid Social Security number.
Following is a list of documents that you may have to submit to the government or nonprofit to get assistance.
- A cover letter and recommendation letter
- Government-issued photo ID, driver’s license, passport and original birth certificates
- Proof of household income in the form of tax returns, pay stubs, W2 forms, bank statements etc.
- Proof of residency, citizenship or eligible immigrant status
- Inspection report by authorized clinics
- Documents stating your medical history and condition
- List of government grants that you are receiving through other programs.
Individuals who are facing financial hardship and need assistance to cover their medical bills must visit the official website of the program or organization they are considering and learn about the eligibility criteria, the application procedure, the deadline and the relevant documents to be submitted.
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How to apply for medical bill assistance?
To apply for medical assistance follow these steps.
- Contact your doctor’s billing department. Your pending account may be located in a hospital.
- You can always call them ahead of time if you are able.
- To receive healthcare services, contact the center you are going to. Inform them that you have financial difficulties and ask for help to pay your bills or debts.
- Next, go ahead and ask if they offer any financial aid,
- Hospital programs offer charity care, so it is important to request them.
- Fill out the application truthfully. They can reject your application if they find mistakes.
- Before submitting your application, you must make sure that all information is correct. It is important that you take a test before you submit your application.
What Are The Government Programs That Help With Medical Bills?
The federally funded program Medicare offers low-cost medical insurance to senior citizens who are 65 years old and above and in some cases young people with disabilities. Different Medicare programs cover different medical procedures or needs such as the following:
- Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, care in skilled nursing facilities or other healthcare
- Medicare Part B covers doctors services, medical supplies, preventive services and outpatient care
- Medicare Part C covers prescription drugs such as vaccines and shots.
An extension of the Medicare program known as Extra Help allows individuals to get additional help with their prescription bills that are not generally covered by the original part A&B Medicare plan.
The qualification requirements state recipients must belong to low-income groups and be residents of the United States of America. You can apply for assistance by visiting the Social Security Administration website.
A federally funded government program known as Medicaid offers low-cost healthcare coverage to people who are struggling to pay their medical bills and want to reduce their medical debt. It is one of the biggest insurance providers in the United States of America and provides assistance to more than 70 million Americans.
The eligibility requirements may vary depending on age, state of residence, household size, disability and income. You can apply for this program by contacting your state Medicaid agency.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program offers affordable medical help to families who fail to meet the eligibility criteria for the Medicaid program but are unable to afford private insurance.
This program is aligned with the Medicaid program and assists low-income families with children to cover their medical bills and other needs. Every state has different eligibility criteria and you can apply for the program by contacting your state’s Medicaid program
The Health Insurance Marketplace enables low-income individuals to enroll in private insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare provides them access to health insurance if they are unable to access insurance through employment. Low-income applicants should not be incarcerated to receive assistance under this program and to be residents of the United States.
A Social Security program known as Supplemental Security Income is funded by the United States Treasury and differs from other types of Social Security benefits since it is not based on employment. In a few states, SSI-qualified recipients get Medicaid to cover their medical bills.
The recipients should be blind, disabled or more than 65 years of age with limited financial resources to qualify. They should be a citizen of the United States, a legal resident and should not be absent from the United States for a full calendar month. You can apply for Supplemental Security Income to cover your medical bills by visiting the official Social Security Administration website.
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program is an amazing resource for senior citizens and elderly people who are looking for grants to reduce their medical debt. The program provides insurance assistance as well as counseling help to Medicare-eligible senior citizens, their family members and caregivers.
Senior citizens who want to know about available medical grants or review their healthcare plan for prescription drugs in their state can contact the SHIP to understand their rules and guidelines. You can dial 1-877-839-2675 or use the SHIP locator to get the right guidance and counseling help.
The Veterans Health Administration is one of the biggest integrated healthcare systems in the United States of America that offers medical grants to low-income senior veterans or military members. The department provides medical assistance at 1138 outpatient sites of care, 1321 health care facilities and 172 medical centers.
The Veteran Health Administration can enable senior veterans to reduce their medical bills and help them cover inpatient hospital services, preventive care services, and emergency or urgent care at VA health facilities including home health care services and non-assisted living.
The Veterans Health Administration is serving around 9 million veterans each year and provides them with medical support, primary care, social support and specialized health care. To apply for assistance you can dial the toll-free number 1-877-222-8387 or visit the VA website.
The PACE program covers Medicaid and Medicaid Services including additional services or treatment to eligible individuals who are not covered by the original Medicaid or Medicare program.
It is a substitute for nursing home care that provides preventive, long-term, primary care and acute services via an interdisciplinary team of social workers, therapists, nurse practitioners, van drivers, nurses, physicians and so on.
The eligibility criteria to qualify for this program are as follows
- Be a senior citizen 55 years old and above
- Should be certified by the state government to receive nursing home-level care
- Must live in a PACE eligible service area.
Organizations And Nonprofits That Help With Medical Bills
For a lot of patients, especially those who belong to low income groups, the challenging part of the recovery process is to pay a huge medical bill. Apart from government-sponsored programs, there are a lot of nonprofit organizations that offer assistance to low-income families and individuals with medical bills.
Underinsured people who are battling with rare, life-threatening and chronic diseases and have insufficient funds to pay their treatment or care costs can apply for assistance from the Patient Access Network Foundation. The organization offers assistance for travel costs, copays and health insurance premiums.
The recipients of the program should have income below the US poverty line, should be receiving medicines or drugs for a qualifying disease and must enroll in a health insurance program. The best thing about applying for assistance with this program is that citizenship criteria are not important but you must be receiving treatment in America.
The Health Well Foundation operates under the slogan ‘when health insurance is not enough’ and provides access to good quality healthcare services to underinsured people.
The foundation offers financial assistance for health insurance premiums, prescription copays, pediatric treatment, deductibles and transportation costs for medical care.
The eligibility criteria require patients to have some form of health insurance and must receive medical treatment in the USA for any one disease covered by the foundation.
No-cost medical services are provided to patients by the case managers of the Patient Advocate Foundation which helps them ease the financial burden and stress of medical diagnosis and treatment. Qualified individuals can get financial grants and copay relief to cover their medical bills.
Assistance is provided to individuals who are diagnosed with debilitating or life-threatening, chronic diseases and need assistance to reduce their medical debt. The eligibility criteria require recipients to be a citizen of the United States or permanent residents and must receive treatment in the United States of America.
The National Association of Free Charitable Clinics offers a wide variety of medical and health services to less fortunate and disadvantaged patients with the help of a volunteer or staff model.
The pharmacies and clinics provide services only to patients who are underinsured, uninsured or those who have no access or limited access to specialty, primary or prescription health care. For individuals who have no money to pay their medical bills can get support from this resource
Needy Meds assists individuals who are not in a position to pay their prescription drugs or medical costs. You need to visit the website and find programs that can help you in times of need. You can search for savings by diagnosis or drug name, locate resources for transportation support, government healthcare programs, free or low-cost clinics and many more topics.
A web-based patient assistance resource that offers vital information about how to access low-cost or affordable medical services for patients the poor struggling to pay for their prescription drugs is known as a RX Hope. To receive assistance resources and referrals you need to fill out a patient assistance request on their official website.
A comprehensive online directory of patient assistance programs known as Rx Assist is run by a lot of pharmaceutical companies in the United States of America that provide low-cost medications to individuals who are not in a position to afford them.
A notable charity that focuses on reducing medical debt or medical bills for low-income patients is known as Dollar For. The organization has a dedicated team that works tirelessly and advocates for the rights of low-income patients and helps them in the application procedure as well.
The organization addresses the fact that a lot of life-saving resources created through the Affordable Care Act have been underutilized due to ignorance or hospital apathy and this is the reason why they have assisted people to submit more than 6500 applications since 2019 completely free.
A charitable institution known as United Healthcare Children’s Foundation is committed to providing financial support for families who are experiencing economic hardship and medical issues. The organization assists in covering costs that are not funded by traditional health insurance and provide breathing room for qualified families.
Since 1999 the organization has awarded around 34,000 grants worth $70 million to affected individuals. The funding is raised through contributions made by employees, individuals and corporations. The eligibility criteria require families to be 16 years or below with a valid Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration.
A leading charity which is dedicated to eradicating blood cancer from society is the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society.
Being the largest nonprofit organization it has invested around $1.6 billion in innovative research works since 1949 and has extended education services and support for cancer-affected patients.
The copay assistance program offers financial support for affected families that helps them curtail insurance premiums or medical expenses.
Enormous medical debt can prevent low-income families from building their credit or growing their savings. RIP Medical Debt helps individuals move out of debt and gives them the much-needed start to attain their financial goals.
The organization purchases millions of dollars of debt in bundled portfolios at a time. Every dollar donated to this organization raises around a hundred dollars for medical debt for those who are financially struggling to pay their medical bills.
A charity that is committed to fighting kidney disease and is supported by around 37 million Americans is the American Kidney Fund. The organization has made 147 monthly kidney transplants and has assisted 500 affected patients with disaster grants worth $120,000.
The organization fights health disparities among low-income communities affected by kidney problems and provides legal advocacy to patients. The organization makes sure American patients going through kidney problems get the right healthcare assistance and covers medical transportation costs, insurance premiums and other prescribed medications.
A top-ranking charity known as CancerCare offers cost-free comprehensive support to cancer-affected individuals. Since 2008 the organization has assisted insured patients to overcome financial challenges that arise due to high copayments, coinsurance and deductibles for prescribed medications. The mission of the organization is to financially support patients so that they can manage their expenses and focus on their treatment.
What Are The Other Steps To Ease Burden When You Cannot Afford Your Medical Bills?
Look For Errors In Your Medical Bill
As per reports, around 80% of hospital and medical bills comprise errors. You can look for errors and examine whether any medical service has been duplicated or any service that you did not receive. Also, look for services that are covered by your insurance. You can contact your medical or hospital provider if you spot any errors.
Negotiate A Discount On Your Bill
Patients who are unable to pay their medical bills due to the financial crisis can notify their medical or hospital provider immediately. A lot of medical providers and hospitals have benefits or services geared towards low-income people. You can negotiate a discount on your bill by paying a large sum of money in exchange for a reduced cost.
Ask For Payment Plan
On receiving a large medical bill you can inquire whether you can pay it in small monthly installments instead of paying all the money at once. The minimum payment plan per month may vary depending on your ability and bill size.
Read Tips From Medical Professionals
Seeking guidance or taking tips from medical professionals and hospital employees will help to reduce the cost of services. They provide information on how to get help with hospital or medical bills.
There are organizations that advocate to ensure proper medical care is given and will make you understand all the regulations put into place by health insurance companies or hospitals and assist you with completing forms for financial aid for your medical bill.
People navigating financial hardship can raise money from strangers including donors, family members, corporations, and co-workers through crowdfunding campaigns and medical bills. GoFundMe and PayPal’s Generosity Network are a few online platforms or websites that you can use to communicate your needs and raise money.
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Dealing with medical, prescription drug and hospital bills following an illness or disease can be stressful for a lot of Americans more than the illness itself. Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations that assist people to get affordable or cheap medical services including healthcare costs. Medical debt or bill assistance is provided from the federal or state government in the form of Medicare, and Medicaid programs. Some charitable organizations and nonprofits assist people with their existing medical bills or healthcare debts.
Visit the rest of the Get Government Grants to read articles about government and private financial assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are payment plans an only option for medical bill help?
Contact the Hospital or social worker if you have one, and check out the possibility of monthly payments. You can cancel any invoices that are still pending. If you are considering this option, ensure that the agreed payment is reasonable and feasible. However, many hospitals and doctors offer flexible payment plans, but they will need to allow bills and medical debt to be paid within a set time frame.
Who qualifies for financial assistance for medical bills?
Most of all the financial assistance requires full income status of the family. The total family income must not exceed the low income criteria decided by the government. The applicant must be a permanent citizen and should be able to show address proof and other valid identity issued by the government