Get Help To Pay For Medical Bills
The problem is huge, expensive and political. The more congress, special interest groups, democrats and republicans debate the best ways to control medical and health-care cost the more health care cost rise. Little action and big debate continues while the working class struggle to pay for prescription cost, out of pocket expenses, co-pays and monthly premiums to insurance companies. The mystery of what the government plans to do baffles the average American. Confused, seems to be an understatement for many as they try to interpret the lip service about reforming the health-care system. In the middle of the confusing rhetoric remains many ask the following question. So, how are working class Americans families and individuals fairing when it comes to medical cost?
1 out 3 families skip medical care and many individuals die.....
According to a survey released by the AFL-CIO, 1 out of 3 families said they skip medicalcare because of cost. Of course, we know that skipping medical care when the onset of illness occurs exacerbates the illness. The consequences are obvious, more medical care such as surgeries, increased need for medication, more co-pay expenses due to more visits to physicians to treat progressed illnesses and finally death itself. Families USA,a national organization that advocates for high-quality affordable health care for all Americans, is releasing a survey that will analyze how many people die because lack of medical care. This survey will give a state by state analysis and you will be able to see the percentage of people who have died because of lack of care in your own state. Families USA estimated in Ohio that 2 residents die each day, annually that is 750 people a yea, from lack of medical care.
1.9-2.2 million families file medical bankruptcy......
Many working class families and individuals are forced to file medical bankruptcy. According to a survey, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Harvard Law School and New York University Law School,1458 million American Families filed for bankruptcy. Out of the 1458 million, the survey estimated that about 1.9-2.2 million of the families or individuals filed because of an inability to pay expensive hospital and medical cost. Onset of major illnesses and enormous out of pocket medical expenses was the main reason that led to bankruptcy despite many families having insurance.
Employers suffering from rising medical cost cause vicious cycle......Working families and individuals are not the only ones affected. Employers also sufferfrom rising health care cost, especially medium to small businesses. The year 2009finds many employers contributions increased by $500, while employees find themselves paying $650 or more. This does not include payroll cost and out of pocket cost. Many employers have no choice but to pay higher wages to help employees cover their portion of health-care cost. Higher wages means increasing their prices in the market places, which affect everyone's cost of living.
This is one big crazy cycle. What are some alternatives and solutions to medical debt? My personal belief is that the ultimate solution will involve governmental interventions collaborating with community organizations, both profit and non-profit. Until then, consumers must focus on finding and utilizing resources and solutions to their medical debt.The following are suggestions that may help:
Hospital or medical providers financial assistance programs. Take advantage of financial assistance from hospitals or medical providers. Many medical providers, hospitals and institutions are aware of the challenges of access affordable and adequate health care. They are fully aware of the current economic crisis that we face as a nation. As result they have created solutions within their own establishments to help offset cost, make payments feasible and make medical services too costly available. Here are some of the ways they can work with you:
- Payment scheduling arrangements. Medical providers and institutions are more than willing to install this type of arrangement to pay off debt. However, huge and overwhelming debts most likely need other solutions.
- Medical Discounts. Most likely they will offer medical discounts to lower your current bill. Medical discounts, anywhere between 20%-60%, may be determined based on income using a sliding scale.
- Total Financial assistance. There may be total financial assistance that will cover 100% of medical services depending on the type of programs the medical provider or institution has readily available. These programs may focus on eliminating debt caused by a certain illness, disease or a patient's set of financial circumstances.
Medical Debt Resolution. Medical debt resolution gets you moving in the right direction to pay off medical debt. This solution allows you to be proactive in solving your debt by using a third party to negotiate debt payments with medical institutions where you incurred the debt. Many organizations that offer medical debt resolution services provide websites or information that will teach you to advocate for yourself when talking to the medical providers. They will have knowledge of financial assistance programs. Here are some ways that medical debt resolution services may either solve your debt or reduce it:
- They will help you to applying for public programs such as Medicare,Medicaid or Hawk-l.
- They will negotiating structured payments.
- They will looking over your insurance plan for any over-charges that may reduce your bills.
- An excellent program to help you start the process of medical debt resolution is a non-profit organization called the Access Project. The Access Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of vulnerable families and individuals, advocate with local, state and federal government for initiatives that promote social change regarding health care. You can find more information about the Access Project online by visiting their website at www.accessproject.org.
If you are a military veteran and you are bills are overwhelming you
can contact the non-profit organization created specifically to help veterans who need financial assistance.
- The American Legion. This is temporary financial assistance for veterans with children who may be facing bills that cause the family to be endanger of separating. You can apply online for financial assistance at www.legion.org/financialassistance
Catholic Charities. There is often help through your local Catholic Church. Catholiccharities collaborates with Providence Healthcare Network to provide assistance. Consult your local phone book, directory service or crisis line for contact numbers of your local Catholic parish specifically for your area. You can also find your local Catholic charity agency by visiting Catholic Charities USA at
Children's Medical Care. There are many resources that will pay for the cost of medical services for children. Here is one of the many resources available for children.
- The Children's Health Fund will provide free medical care and help
with the cost of care. There mission is to serve children coming from the low-income families. They will service families that are need of aid regardless if they can pay for it or not. www.childrenshealthfund.org
Grants. Many grants are available by various organizations. The whole trick is finding the grants. This takes scouring the internet and making inquiries by phone to other local social service agencies that can refer you on to available resources. I searched the internet and in minutes found two organizations that seem promising.
- UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation- This is a non-profit organization helps parents to receive medical grants of up to $5000 for medical treatments that are needed to enhance the child's quality of life endangered by illness. These grants are used to cover medical cost that commercial health benefit plans do not. There are age requirements for your children and income restrictions for families. However, when reviewing the income restrictions they seem to include both middle class and low income individuals. There re some medical conditions that are excluded, so pay close attention to eligibility requirements before applying. www.uhcf.org
- Modest Needs has several grants that focus on helping families or individuals stay independent and self sufficiency. They provide financial assistance to offset a sudden financial burden that may render a family or individual homeless. The grants appear to be available for any event that causes sudden financial chaos. For more information on available grants, visit their website at www.modestneeds.org/ .
Free Medical and Dental Clinics. There are a many free medical and dental programs
popping up all over the country. Some clinics may have income restrictions and many
do not. There is a a website that has put together a directory of such clinics called
www.freemedicalcamps.com. Search for free medical clinics in your area.
Specific Health Foundations. Non-profit medical foundations will assist with medical
care cost and the cost of prescriptions. Foundations tend to be specific about what
conditions they will assist with and what prescriptions they will assist with, so make sure
you pay attention to eligibility requirements.
- Healthwell Foundation is an example of a foundation that will help with medical bills and the cost of prescriptions. However, they will only assist with medications used to to treat the specific disease or diagnosis. You can apply for their program online at www.healthwellfoundation.org.
Here are some major foundations to look into:
- American Brain Tumor Association www.abta.org
- American Kidney Fund www.kidneyfund.org/patient-programs/
- American Liver Foundation www.liverfoundation.org
- American Lung Association www.lungusa.org
- American Parkinson Disease Association www.apdaparkinson.org
- Arthritis Foundation www.arthritis.org
- Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America www.ccfa.org
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation www.cff.org
- Diabetes Research Institute Foundation www.diabetesresearch.org
- Epilepsy Foundation & Research Foundation www.epilepsyfoundation.org
- First Candle/SIDS Alliance www.sidsalliance.org
- Huntington's Disease Society of America www.hdsa.org
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International www.jdrf.org
- Lupus Foundation of America www.lupus.org
- Lupus Research Institute www.lupusresearchinstitute.org
- Muscular Dystrophy Association www.mda.org
- National Hemophilia Foundation N.O. www.hemophilia.org
- National Jewish Health www.nationaljewish.org
- National Kidney Foundation www.kidney.org
- National Organization for Rare Disorders www.raredisease.org
- Parkinson's Disease Foundation www.pdf.org
Organizations that Advocates for Health. These types of is a non-profit organization are helpful in connecting individuals with a library of information and resources that may help with medical cost. They are unique because some will provide mediation services that include stabilizing employment when life threatening illness interferes. Many advocates may provide case management to help the person access medical services by interacting with local, state and federal programs that will make financial assistance and medical benefits available. Some organizations ,that advocate for health access, will have a co-payment relief program which assists clients with insurance to pay their co-payments.
- An organization that provide this kind of assistance is called Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) www.patientadvocate.org.
These are only a few solutions that may help those with medical bills. The key is to utilize every resource possible and always look for ways either conventional or unconventional to survive our health care industry holocaust. This requires that you stay as proactive as possible in finding your own solutions. Many hospitals social workers who are sitting on mounds of information, but will not offer the information unless you ask. Which is unfortunate, because that is their job. So, there are ways to combat the medical bills . Yet, as we are all aware, w still we need many more ways to combat them. It is definitely challenging with many resources exhausted or not available due to our country's current financial crisis. However, the answers to solving a medical financial crisis will come to those who stay focused on finding solutions. Again, the key is to stay positive and proactive while the health care dilemma rages on.
References & Article Bibliography:
The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere
Health Tracking Marketwatch
2 February 2005
MarketWatch: Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy
Physicians A National Health Program