Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is already a challenge. Then there are the medical bills associated with doctor visits, medications, and treatments. As you undergo treatment, these costs can stress your mental health and strain your finances.
In 2016, a study found that one in four Americans could not pay their healthcare bills, and a third of families reported delaying medical treatment due to cost concerns. In some cases, people who suffer from financial insecurity may avoid seeking medical treatment altogether.
Fortunately, for those seeking treatment, financial assistance is available. Most of the help comes from nonprofits or government organizations that assist with medical expenses. Here are a few options to consider:
A government program called Medicaid provides health insurance to low-income Americans and assists more than 70 million Americans, making it the largest insurance provider in the country.
The program’s eligibility requirements vary by state and are based on factors such as age, income, family size, and disability.
- Legal Support
Patients with cancer are not immune to the strain of healthcare expenses. Medical bills present another obstacle to receiving proper treatment. 63% of cancer patients and their loved ones report financial stress following a diagnosis.
For a mesothelioma case, patients and their families can claim compensation through court. Many law firms offer free consultations and don’t charge unless the client claims the amount.
Mesothelioma is most likely caused by the negligence of some companies that exposed workers to asbestos. When these companies became bankrupt, they had to reserve funds so that victims could claim a share. Victims can claim from these mesothelioma trust funds to ease their financial and emotional sufferings.
- Veteran’s Health Administration
There are more than 1,298 health care facilities operated by the Veterans Health Administration, encompassing 171 hospitals and 1,113 outpatient clinics, serving more than 9 million enrolled Veterans annually.
If you are a veteran, you may qualify for free or low-cost health care at one of many veteran-friendly facilities.
- Hospitals and Health Centers
Community health centers, hospitals, and other clinics receiving funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration can provide care to low-income patients.
If you don’t have insurance, you may be able to work out a payment plan.
There are several federally funded health centers where you can receive free or low-cost dental and medical services even if you do not have insurance.
- Supplemental Security Income
Funded by general government funds from the US Treasury, Supplemental Security Income is part of the Social Security system. Unlike other Social Security benefits, it is not based on employment. A qualified recipient receives SSI benefits on the first day of each month. SSI recipients can receive Medicaid to help cover medical expenses in some states.
Qualification requirements are that applicants must be disabled, blind, or older than 65 with limited income. Additionally, they must be legal American citizens and not be absent from the country for more than one month.
- Health Insurance Marketplace
Health insurance is now available to those previously unable to obtain it through employment under Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. If you wish, you can enroll in insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
As part of the eligibility requirements, applicants must be free citizens currently residing in the U.S.
As part of the Medicare program, seniors over 65 and people with disabilities under 65 receive medical insurance. Different Medicare programs offer different types of coverage for medical needs or procedures.
- Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospitalizations, nursing home care, hospice care, and certain home health care services.
- Medicare Part B, covering medical treatment by physicians, outpatient care, and medical supplies
- Medicare Part D typically takes care of prescribed drugs, vaccines, and shots
After enrolling in Medicare, you have a choice of coverage options. Parts A and B are the only parts of traditional Medicare. There are, however, some options that include Part D.
To qualify, recipients must be 65 years of age or older. In some cases, those under 65 with disabilities or end-stage kidney disease may be eligible.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program
Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, offers low-cost medical coverage to families that do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. Aligned with Medicaid, this program assists families with children in covering the cost of medical care.
There are different Medicaid and CHIP eligibility requirements in each state. However, all states cover routine health care, immunizations, hospitalizations, dental care, and lab services.
- Vaccines for Children (VFC)
You may be able to get vaccines for your child through the VFC program if you are unable to afford them. You may be eligible if your child is younger than 19 and meets any of the following criteria:
- Not insured
- Insufficient insurance (limited insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines)
- Native American or Alaskan
Make sure the doctor you are seeing is a provider of VFC. If not, your VFC coordinator can direct you to a qualified health center or clinic.
If you need assistance paying for your own or your family’s health care needs, programs that offer low or no-cost coverage may be able to help. You may qualify based on your income, age, location, and insurance coverage, among other factors. This article talks about some of the options you have – if you search a little, you may find some programs that are appropriate for your needs.