Assistance with Medical Bills for Uninsured Individuals
There are several different way for uninsured Americans to receive help paying for the medical bills, including grants, low-interest loans, and donations from charitable organizations. Other assistance comes by way of your local state Department of Human Services if you meet a certain income level that makes you eligible for assistance. Another immediate source of consistent medical assistance is the program by the same name, Medical Assistance or Medicaid.
If you have income at or below the threshold for Medicaid eligibility, you will receive coverage on all major medical services paid for by your state government. Individuals with low or no income who qualify for Medicaid can also receive retroactive coverage, which helps pay for any outstanding medical bills you have not paid for up to three months before your enrollment date.
The Access Project is a nonprofit health care advocacy group and has much involvement with monitoring how uninsured individuals receive medical care, especially when received in a hospital setting. According to this group, the American Hospital Association requires all nonprofit hospitals to incorporate charity care programs for those who cannot afford to resolves debts incurred for medical services. Nonprofit hospitals allow such individuals to apply for charity care programs to assist with paying off significant medical bills.
The Patient Advocate Foundation provides assistance and advocacy to individuals who are uninsured and also have any kind of chronic illness. By appointing case managers to qualifying individuals, they help both insured and uninsured persons with such conditions to receive help paying for medical bills and on health care services that they cannot afford. Their site also includes The National Uninsured Resource Directory, which gives information specific to the area in which you reside.
AmeriPlan is the nation’s largest organization offering discounted rates for health care services. They provide plans for a monthly rate ranging from $20 to $150 to individuals and families, which cover medical, dental, and vision care in addition to prescriptions and chiropractic services. Members have access to a network through AmeriPlan of tens of thousands of medical providers throughout the US. They are a charitable discount program, though AmeriPlan strictly states their plans and programs are not insurance.
Additionally, speaking directly with your doctor about a discount can help, or requesting a discount from the billing manager at your local physician’s office or hospital. While many physician’s offices and hospitals have strict policies prohibiting them to issue discounted rates, they would rather discount your debt than write it off as a loss, therefore it is worth the effort to attempt.
Consult a medical billing advocate who can go over your medical bills and check for errors which may lead to the high price of the bill you have received. In certain instances, this can save you thousands of dollars on your medical bills. Though it obviously will cost something to hire this individual, it could be worth the return. If you don’t want to risk losing money, and you know what to look for or feel comfortable doing the research in reading claim numbers, you may be able to save even more.
Contacting your state attorney general’s office can be helpful if you owe medical debt to a hospital that will not give you a discounted rate and does not offer charity care. A consumer advocate or the attorney general themselves may get a better outcome from the provider than you alone could receive.