Healthcare, and access to it, is one of the most pressing concerns of the modern age. Between the rising costs of medical care, increasing insurance costs, declining coverage, rising prescription drug coverage, and other issues, it is virtually impossible for the average American family to pay for necessary medical care.
Moreover, a single emergency room visit could leave you floundering in debt that will follow you for years to come. Thankfully, there are ways to find money to pay your medical bills and get the treatment needed.
Important Tips and Things to Know about Paying for Healthcare
While we will discuss several options to help you pay for necessary medical care in this chapter, there are a few things you can and should do first. In some situations, you may be able to find low-cost treatments available on your own, and in others, you might find free healthcare options available.
•Check with your county’s health department. They often provide solutions that ensure low-cost or free treatments in certain situations. Of course, note that these are income-based and insurance-based.
•Check with clinics in your community to find programs designed for low-income families.
•Reach out to charities and nonprofits in your area. Many organizations can offer financial help for low-income families struggling to pay medical bills.
•Contact your local social services agency to learn more about programs available in your area.
Prescription Drug Help
While medical care is very costly, what really poses a problem to American families is the cost of prescription drugs. From insulin to asthma inhalers, the cost of medication needed to live a healthy life continues to climb. The good news is that there are options to help you pay less for the prescription drugs that you and your family need. Note that none of these are grants –there are no federal government grants to pay for medical care or medications.
•CHIP or Medicaid –Depending on your income level, you and/or your children may qualify for either CHIP (California only), or Medicaid. You can find more information about the eligibility requirements here.
•State or Local Programs –While there are no federal grants available to pay for medications or other medical costs, there are state and local programs that can help you offset the costs. These range from low-cost local clinics to charity programs.
•Local Health Center –Your county health department and other local health centers offer low-cost or no-cost medications for those who qualify (income and needs-based).
•Medicare Part D –If you are already on Medicare, consider applying for Medicare Part D, which is designed specifically to help cover the cost of prescription medications.
Simplefill is an organization that offers reduced-cost medications to Americans who qualify for their program. However, it differs significantly from the options we’ve discussed thus far. In order to qualify, you must already have health insurance, including prescription drug coverage. You must also still be paying more than $100 out of pocket for your medications every month despite having insurance.
If you qualify, the organization will apply for grants that are available only to organizations (not individuals) that could provide $2,500 or more per year toward your medication costs, with a maximum of one year of coverage. To find out if you qualify, you will need to contact Simplefill at 1-877-386-0206.
Other options include organizations such as the HealthWell Foundation, which helps patients with chronic illnesses cover medication costs and other fees, Patient Access Network, which helps offset medication costs, Caring Voice Coalition, which offers a range of solutions, and the Patient Advocate Foundation, which can provide mediation and help with medical debt.