Apply for help with medical bills and assistance programs.
Whether you have insurance or not, medical bills are becoming more expensive. The cost of getting the health care you are your family needs is creating financial hardship for many households of all income levels. If you are having difficulty paying for your medical bills or health care costs, if you have accumulated excessive debt, or are having difficulty with keeping up with the minimum payment amounts on your bills, you need to research and find information about financial assistance programs.
Look into payment plans, discount programs, and other money saving methods. The fact is that most hospitals, doctors, and health care providers offer some sort of medical bill assistance programs for those who are having difficulty. Find how to apply for help and get information on the various assistance programs that are available to patients and consumers.
How do I apply for help with paying medical bills?
The first step is you need to contact the billing department at your doctors office or hospital where your outstanding account is. Or, when possible, call them in advance. Contact the center where you plan on going to for health care services. Let them know that you are experiencing financial difficulty and that you may need assistance paying your medical bills or debt. Then just go ahead and ask them if there is any financial assistance available that they offer and that you may be qualified for. Many times the programs run by hospitals are known as charity care, so you may need to refer to that name. Ask for an application if they offer any type of plan.
Complete the application for assistance that the doctor or hospital provides you with. Due it quickly and thoroughly. Be sure to complete the application truthfully. If there are mistakes then it can be denied. Be sure you provide all accurate information on the application before you turn it in. Ensure you have proof as it will be needed.
Many hospitals will offer applications for their financial assistance programs or payment programs. They will make them available online or within the hospital itself. You can also always ask your doctor or the hospital billing department about where you can find these applications, and they may also be able to help you complete them.
While not quite as common, some dental providers and dentists will offer financial aid. Programs may help patients, whether they are insured or not, pay their bills. Others will offer free basic check ups to a low income family. Or what may be more common from a dentist is a payment plan to help people receive discounts on any needed care. Find how to get help with dental bills.
What type of documentation do I need to apply?
Before you apply, be sure to gather all of your medical statements and bills, details on other expenses, copies of insurance and more. Many providers will ask for proof of income and your main household bills (such as rental lease/mortgage, records of utility bills, health insurance details). They will often want a complete budget done.
Applicants will also need proof of income, so gather copies of your employment records, benefits, and recent paystubs. Be prepared, as almost all financial assistance applications will request details on total household income. You need to have records of any other expenses and bills that you may be responsible for paying as well. Also note that the individual who reviews your application may end up interviewing you as well.
How long does it take before I receive assistance?
After you apply, wait for a response from the doctor or hospital about your application. Most health care providers or billing departments will mail you a letter. Some may call you personally by telephone to let you know the status if there is a time constraint.
How much medical bill help can I receive?
While their are many factors that will go into making a decision, including your income bracket, expenses, and the amount of your debt and bills, some doctor and hospital financial assistance programs will pay anywhere from up to half of the cost of your medical bill to all of it! So the exact discount amount will vary widely. Review a list being created of hospitals that offer assistance.
What about applying to pay off existing medical debts?
If in the past you have incurred some expensive medical bills, and now you have the outstanding debt to pay off, there are some steps you can take. This may be more challenging though, as it can be harder to deal with that existing debt as well. While eliminating it after the fact is slightly harder than dealing with expensive bills up front, it is not impossible. Find several of the top tips for paying off medical debts.
Are payment plans an option?
Throughout the process, discuss with the hospital or caseworker (if assigned one) the possibility of making monthly payments on any bills that you will still need to pay. If this is an option, ensure the payment agreed to is one that you can afford to pay on your account.
Most hospitals (and some doctors) will offer flexible payment plans, but will require a certain period of time that the bills and medical debt must be paid off without being sent to a collections agency. You need to always continue to make monthly payments, and keep the communication going. Always keep in contact with your caseworker or health care provider should you have trouble paying your scheduled monthly amount. Ideally even let them know in advance if you expect difficulty.