Financial Assistance:10 Ways To Find Help In Paying Medical Bills

| April 22, 2013 | 0 Comments
Food For Thought:  As per a recent study by CDC Help Paying Medical Billsone in every 3 families in the US struggle and need help paying medical bills. The main reason to this problem is limited financial resources due to increasing debt. Now this is irrespective of the fact that people have health insurance. There could be many big ticket size procedures which might not be covered by your health insurance policy. In such situation how do you find help and financial assistance to pay your medical bills? The obvious advice anyone would give is to first contact the billing department of the hospital where you are being treated and make them aware of your financial hardships. There is no harm in directly asking them regarding availability of any type of financial assistance to pay off your medical bills. You might be offered a payment plan and you get flexibility to pay off your bills via small monthly payments. You basically have three options if you can’t pay your medical bills by yourself. You contact the hospital authorities itself, take help of government help through grants or seek financial aid through a nonprofit organization. Help in paying for medical bills mostly is offered by various charitable organizations and government assistance programs.

 

Different Options To Seek Financial Help For Medical Bills Payment

A lot of people have health insurance but the cost of medical treatment may throw you off balance with sudden major financial expenses which are not covered in your health insurance plan. I list some of the options below which will help you in finding assistance to pay off your medical bills.

 

  • Negotiating A Payment Plan With Your Hospital: This option to get assistance with the payment of medical bills can be a little tricky. You can ask the hospital or the company billing you to either offer a discount or put you on a monthly payments plan which gives you time to pay off your medical bills. If the situation is extreme and you just cannot afford to pay your bills then consider writing a “letter of hardship” to explain your financial situation. This will clearly show your right intention to pay your bills and you should be offered some help which favors your situation.
    There are a lot of social workers associated with hospitals which can help you to present your case to the hospital. Check if your hospital has one to seek help. Financial assistance applications generally should be submitted with all the details of your past financial history like household income, all medical bills, other household bills (mortgage, health insurance and others if any). This will help the authorities to help you in the time of need.
    Once your case is reviewed, based on your income bracket you would be given consideration on payments on medical bills. I am not sure whether you know this or not but all the non profit hospitals are required to publicize their “Patient Assistance Programs” which helps people who need help paying their medical bills. Moreover, most of the hospitals will have a written financial assistance policy and you should ask for it to get a clear understanding of the eligibility criteria, application process and if there are any calculating charges involved.
  • Medicaid: A lot of individuals who meet the qualification criteria and qualify for Medicaid can get help to pay their medical bills. This is including people who do not have health insurance. Medicaid is for people who are not financially capable to pay the cost of medical care. Although, there is a low income criteria clearly specified for Medicaid qualification, you may qualify if your medical bills are too high.
  • Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP): If the payment of medical bills is related to your children’s treatment then you can get all the information in this article. Click here 
  • Crowdfunding: This is one option which is a clear example of humanity not being dead in this world. Crowdfunding is becoming the go to niche to arrange funds for people who are really in need. It’s a huge source of fund raising. If you are still in dilemma and guessing what it is then visit sites like www.giveforward.com , www.youcaring.com, www.humantribeproject.com, www.fundrazr.com, www.stepbystepfundraising.com  and www.gofundme.com and you will get the entire concept. These are online fund raising (popularly known as Crowdfunding) websites which help in raising money for co-pays, out of pocket expenses and deductibles which are generally not covered by your health insurance plans. Crowdfunding in simple terms is nothing but where a group of individuals unite together to chip in money. Social networking is crux behind the success of a successful online fundraising program.
  • Taking Advantage Of Medical Tourism: Medical tourism off lately has become very popular considering the fact that health care expenses in the US have skyrocketed. People visit countries like India to get the treatment done at much cheaper cost and without compromising on the high tech medical facilities. Do you research and due diligence before choosing this option.
  • Financial Aid Through Charities: Charities like Medi Corp Health System provide assistance in paying your medical bills. You can contact your local social service office and get information on similar charities in your area of residence. Similarly there are various other social service organizations like patient advocate foundation and service like medical debt help which will help you to pay off your medical bills during financial crunch.
  • Free Charitable Clinics: You should check this option as well. Click Here and Here
  • Government Grants For Medical Bill Debt: You can get information on various government grants on medical bills here.
  • Debt Consultation Agencies: Almost all communities have local debt consultation agencies to help you on paying your medical bills. They will contact your hospital or medical clinics who are billing you for medical bills and negotiate a more financially flexible option for you. Some agencies are nonprofit and some may charge you little fees for the work done.
  • Filing For Bankruptcy – Last Resort: This as mentioned, should be your last resort when you can’t find any way to manage payment of your medical bills. Check the pros and cons of filling for bankruptcy and consult a consumer credit counselor.

Image Courtesy: andjohan

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