You may qualify for financial assistance from a variety of different programs, including government and nonprofit organizations. Billions of dollars of funds are generally issued each and every year to address medical needs. There may be grants available from local or national stimulus packages, hospital chains, pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits. Availability and eligibility can vary widely depending on where you live and your condition, but the programs generally focus on helping low- to moderate-income households
If you have already received your health care, and now have outstanding medical bills or debts that are owed to a provider, then assistance is available for that as well.
Medical Billing Advocates
Benefits.gov will help you find government benefits to which you may be entitled. A short online questionnaire will help direct you toward the benefits you can apply for, including those that help with health care and child care.
Assistance Programs/Organizations That Help Pay Medical Bills
The HealthWell Foundation runs several funds that may help with premiums and copays. Their telephone number is (800) 675-8416.
United Healthcare Children's Foundation
Can assist the underinsured with sick or injured children. Their telephone number is (952) 992-4459.
The Vision USA Foundation may help with glasses or eye exams. Their telephone number is (800) 766-446.
The PAN Foundation (Patient Access Network)
The PAN Foundation’s mission is to help underinsured people with life-threatening, chronic and rare diseases get the medications and treatments they need by assisting with their out-of-pocket costs and advocating for improved access and affordability. Their telephone number is (866) 316-7263.
The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC)
The NAFC uses a volunteer/staff model to provide a wide variety of health and medical services to economically disadvantaged patients. These clinics and pharmacies restrict the ability for services to patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or have limited or no access to primary, specialty, or prescription health care. Their telephone number is (703) 647-7427
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
The LLS has several financial assistance programs that may help with travel expenses, copays and urgent needs (including rent, utilities and food). Their telephone number is (914) 949-5213
NeedyMeds is a nonprofit organization that assists people who cannot afford prescription drugs and other medical costs. They are an information source, allowing you to find programs that may help.Their telephone number is (800) 503-6897
Rx Assist offers a comprehensive database of Patient Assistance Programs, or PAPs, which pharmaceutical companies run to provide free medications to those who cannot afford them. Email: email@example.com
Rx Hope is a web-based patient assistance resource, providing vital information and help to those who need help affording their prescription drugs. You can fill out a Patient Assistance Request on the website.
Some companies that create and sell prescription drugs and medical supplies have patient assistance programs (PAPs) that may offer you free or low-cost medications. The Medicare website has a search tool that you can use to find PAPs using a prescribed drug's name.
Federal law requires nonprofit hospitals to provide financial assistance to qualified low-income patients who can't repay their medical bills, so check whether the hospital treating you is a nonprofit. Applicants will need to show proof that their income is low enough to qualify, such as pay stubs, tax returns and other financial documents. "If they qualify, (patients) will have a bill that is reduced or completely written off," Lamb says. That means you may even get out of paying your medical bills.
Even if the hospital operates as a for-profit institution, it might choose to offer one of these programs voluntarily or be required to provide financial assistance by state law, so it's worth checking.
It's also worth applying for financial assistance, even if you suspect that you might not be approved, experts say. These plans often work on a sliding scale, so you may still get 20% off your medical bill or more.
Medical Billing Advocates
Medical billing advocates won’t pay your medical bills for you, but they can help get your bills reduced.
These advocates know medical billing inside out. They can spot medical billing errors you might not catch yourself. Additionally, they may know what billing items can be negotiated to lower prices than what you’ve been billed.
A billing advocate that reduces your medical bills essentially reduces your medical debt. Unfortunately, billing advocates often charge for their services, and sometimes, they can be expensive. However, you may be able to find free assistance through your workplace’s benefits program. Another option could be through charitable organizations like the Patient Advocate Foundation.