If you live in Rhode Island and are uninsured, or if your current health insurance policy is limited, then you may still have access to free or affordable medical care. The state offers a number of resources to families and individuals that meet income guidelines and who are struggling to pay for their medical bills.
The primary programs to explore in Rhode Island are below. Some are provided directly by the state and others are offered in partnership with regional non-profits or the federal government. Health care can be provided to patients with pre-existing conditions, funds can help people acquire medications, and a number of other needs can be met by the government. Some resources are provided to children, seniors, or the disabled. Thousands of individuals in Rhode Island benefit from one or more of these options every year.
Children with Special Health Care Needs have some government sponsored programs that they can turn to for help. The state, working with non-profits, can help pay medical and health related bills for children who qualify, the disabled, and who meet other conditions. Call 401-462-5300.
The Rhode Island Early Intervention Program is assistance for families of children, who lack insurance, and that have developmental disabilities. The child or infant needs to be under the age of 3. The main phone number is 401-462-5300.
The Katie Beckett is a non-profit program for Children with Special Health Care Needs. It will in effect allow children to stay home instead of being sent to a hospital or some other institution. The organization can help pay for the health costs and medical bills for qualifying children from low income families that have special needs and that are uninsured. The money paid out needs to in effect help the child to remain living at their home. The program is free to families who meet income limits and qualifications. Call 401-462-0633 for additional information.
Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions may be able to get help from PCXIPRI, or the Rhode Island Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. The state and federal government will ensure that health insurance coverage is not denied to people due to preexisting conditions or their health status. So if you can't obtain insurance from other sources then this may be a low cost option for you, as the participant will still need to pay a portion of their bills. Main number is 800-505-2583.
Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance to Elderly can offer financial assistance for Medicare Part D copays. This program can help pay for certain drugs. The state will also negotiate discounts for certain medications as well. If the discount program is what is used, a sliding fee scale is in place so some bills will need to still be paid by patients. The program may even be able to pay up to 100% of co-payment after first $1,500 for certain drugs. Call 401-462-3000 for more details.
Medical Assistance/RI Medicaid is for the uninsured and low income. Most of the participants are pregnant women, children, families with young ones, and people that are aged, blind or disabled. All services are free to those who meet income guidelines. The program can pay for needs such as hospitalization, emergency ambulance, physician visits, lab & x-ray services, and other medical bills.
The managed care program in Rhode Island is known as RIte Care. This is government sponsored health insurance for families or individuals and they will be required to enroll into a verified health plan. There are no monthly premiums due from families with income less than 150% of the poverty guidelines. Emergency services, lab work, dental cleanings and more are covered by RIte Care. Call 800-964-6211 for information on this state program.
RIte Share is similar to above, however it is a health premium assistance program for families with employer or private health insurance. It can help with co-pays, premiums and other expenses. Main number is 401-462-0311.
As with most states, Rhode Island participates in the Vaccines for Children Program, which is free or low cost medications and vaccines for children. Clinics and other medical providers in the state offer these services to those who lack insurance and who can't afford to pay them on their own. The goal is to be pro-active in addressing otherwise preventable diseases. Dial 401-222-1580.
Individuals living with HIV and/or AIDS can get help from the Ryan White HIV Care Program. If they are uninsured and meet other guidelines patients can get help paying for medications and even other expenses like housing. FDA approved medications are used for those with HIV/AIDS. Dial 401-222-4610.
Screening Colonoscopies for Uninsured People (SCUP) is free colorectal screening to qualified Rhode Islanders. The government works with non-profits and other groups, such as clinics, to provide free screening and testing. 401-222-5960
Free screening for breast and cervical cancer is offered from the Women's Cancer Screening Program. It can pay for tests, pelvic exams, mammograms and more. Call 401-222-4324 for information on testing locations and the process.
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