Medical debt has grown at an astonishing pace in the last 10 years, despite available health insurance coverage in the US. New Kaiser Report states, among those insured with medical problems, “63% report using most or all of their savings.” In recent years, it’s been reported that one in three Americans was in a family experiencing financial burden from medical care.
And now, medical debt is possibly the top reason for bankruptcy in the US. This article will provide you a few resources to help deal with medical debt.
Negotiate a lower medical bill
Find the contact number on the bill you received from the hospital. Hospitals may be able to reduce your bill.
Payment plans that fit your income level
Get all the payment terms in writing from your provider, so that you can pay according to your ability and employment. Payment plans may have interest, while others may not. Again, ask if there is a no-interest payment plan. Explain your circumstances and why it is you need assistance paying these bills in a lesser amount each month.
Charity programs at hospital or state/federal level
Some states and hospitals may have a charity program that can cover a portion of the medical debt, or all of it. You may be qualified for financial help from your state or the federal government – call your state Medicare program.
Children’s Health Insurance Plan financial aid
CHIP – Children’s Health Insurance Plan – Children may qualify for CHIP, which can provide financial aid to them if their parents didn’t qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance. Apply here
Local Clubs and Church Charity
Elks, Lion Clubs chapters and church charity. Your local churches may be willing to help you pay a portion of your medical bills. Call on them for help, most are looking for opportunities to do good for their neighbor and would be glad to aid you.
Google search local churches – Find local Christian churches and other charities in your area and ask if they are able to help.
Be sure to explain how dire the bills are and how they may contribute to homelessness, if they in fact endanger your family to homelessness or joblessness. If they fail to provide help or have restrictions to their charity program, ask about other churches and keep calling! Attend a meeting and afterwards politely seek help from people there, bring paperwork, and ask! Don’t be discouraged if they refuse, keep seeking help – there are lots of churches to try.
Senior Assistance Programs
Seniors Health Insurance Programs – Call the number for your state and ask for additional medical bill payment assistance.
Denied Coverage Errors
Did your insurance plan lie to you about what’s really covered? If so, and your insurer is failing to fulfill their obligations per the terms of your health insurance contract – document the discrepancy and seek advice. A lawyer may be able to help you locate the people you need to work with to get your bills paid by the health plan.
Often medical coders and individuals charged with billing duties err. For this reason, verify the figures on the medical bill. Ask for advice from someone who does billing.
Try online forums with doctors, nurses and other health care experts to contribute their expertise on your bills. You can relay the item-by-item details to them via private and secure messaging. Quora.com can answer a wide variety of billing related questions as well.
Errors in Medical Billing: Call Persistently, Email, Write, Fax, Get an Advocate
“Nerdwallet analysis found that 49 percent of Medicare claims had errors, while medical billing advocates will tell you 80 percent of the claims they analyze have errors.” (USNews). Take a look at your bill carefully and if you notice an error, call the number on the bill (if available) to have it corrected as soon as possible. The person you want to talk to is the medical billing manager. If they are non-compliant, you may need to be persistent, calling several times until something is done about it.
Call 211 the Free national resource hotline
Dial 211 – in the US this number will provide a free directory and referral service in most areas to some sort of social service organizations. Some may be able to provide temporary financial aid.
Apply to grants
Find grants at Grantwatch.com or for special needs, this list by Joyfuljourneymom.com. You may need to enlist the help of family and friends to write the grant to a group like Aubrey Rose. Seek out similar grants in your state and apply to them. The application must express the severity of your need to make an impact with these foundations.
USA.gov financial aid programs for other bills
Fundraising can be a little extra money toward the medical debt. If you have family or friends who are tech-saavy, ask them to sit down with you and brainstorm a way to promote your fundraising page. Not everyone’s page is successful, but in time, you may be a bit relieved by a few hundred dollars of charitable support from friends and family.
If your Facebook connections are wide, or have a friend who does, it is ideal to have them share and let their friends know about the help you need and why.
Here are a few fundraising sites specifically used for medical bills by some:
It is a shame that in such a technological country, basic needs like healthcare and employment continue to bog down the majority of Americans. The government’s aid to reduce the burden of medical costs seems only to have worsened healthcare and livability. We hope the resources above, and our prayers, will help those of you who are caught with debts of a medical nature, far beyond what you should be expected to repay.
Please comment below if you seek additional resources, links or numbers – we’ll do our best to compile the info for you.