How to find assistance with hospital bills.

The best way to get assistance with hospital bills is to request help before your admittance or surgery. You should ask about a charity care or financial aid type program. However, as we all know, that is not always possible, especially in the case of an emergency. Below are some resources that can provide hospital bill assistance, whether you request it before your hospital stay or after you receive the bill.

Get assistance directly from the hospital: Before you are admitted, ask if you qualify for any charity care programs they may offer, government programs, or any other discounted services. Ask for this help, especially if you're uninsured. However if your income is low enough many hospitals may offer assistance to patients that are insured and/or employed. If you can’t ask before your hospital visit look for the phone number for billing assistance and questions, which will normally will be on the back of your hospital bill. Or if you can’t find the number, you can always just call your hospital's main phone number and ask for the billing office, financial services, an advocate, or patient representative.

Find tips from medical professionals on ways to reduce hospital bills. Learn more.

Medical billing advocates: Advocates can review your hospital bill for errors or other savings. They are free and will only charge you a percent of what they save. Continue.

Settle your hospital bills and debts: Most hospitals are willing to work with patients to reduce their outstanding debt if they can’t pay it. One of the main reasons that this is a possibility is because hospitals would rather not sue a patient. It is bad publicity, and often times not worth the expense to them. Find how to settle your medical debts.

Prescription drug assistance reduction program:  Review programs to see if you can get lower drug prices or medicines. While it may depend on your income or insurance status, name-brand pharmaceutical companies offer a variety of programs. More.

Fraud detection: Some resources, such as the Senior Medicare Patrol, focus on meeting the needs of people over 55 and the elderly. This is a non-profit program that can assist with detecting hospital billing errors, fraud, and address a number of other issues. More on Senior Medicare Patrol.




Hospital bill assistance from government programs

Federal government stimulus aid: If you do not have insurance or have lost your job, be sure to ask your financial-services office or doctor's office for information about qualifying for a 65 percent reduction in your bills as a result of the COBRA health-insurance premiums government assistance plan.

Federal Government Medicare Help Line: Call (800) 633-4227 for questions on your bills as well as phone assistance relating to Medicare bills and service only. They can help detect errors or fraud, provide information on options for consumers and more. Call to find what they can offer you.

Hill-Burton Hospital Free Care Program: You can call (800) 638-0742 to ask for a list of health care facilities and hospitals that participate in this federal government program for low-income people that provides discounted or free health care. For people who qualify for assistance, the program will provide free grants for paying hospital bills, but not doctors' fees. More.

Assistance with hospital bills from local and state governments: State and local governments have programs that can provide free health care and hospital visits. Find a listing of states that have government health care programs, and you can even find resources from your local county of municipal government.

Charities: There are a wide variety of health care charities that can help you with paying a bill, reducing hospital debt, or even provide you with free health care. More.

Employer health advocates services: Some employers provide advocates who can provide help. This will help reduce the businesses total insurance premiums, especially when it comes to renewing a policy. They will offer you information and resources. Look into whether you employer offers this service or not as part of the healthcare benefits or health insurance plans they have in place.




By Jon McNamara

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