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Maine assistance with hospital bills.

Both the uninsured and the underinsured can get help and the prescription medications they need for free or at low cost from various Maine hospitals and the programs they offer.

Some of the programs include : In central Maine, prescription-drug assistance programs and free medications are offered through Franklin Community Health Network's Franklin Health Access Rx, which is based in Farmington,  MaineGeneral Health's CarePartners program; Inland Hospital in Waterville, and Redington-Fairview Hospital located in Skowhegan.

The hospitals do whatever they can to provide aid. Both Franklin Health Access and CarePartners each have medical advocates on site who work one-on-one with clients. Their primary goal is to help patients obtain their medications, but they also want to encourage them to improve their overall well-being and health.

These hospitals work closely with patients to connect them to free or low-cost health care and programs that will pay for the cost of preventative care such as eye exams, annual checkups, office visits to physicians when ill, smoking-cessation programs, hospital services and even referrals to social-service agencies and charities as needed. Many of these programs were created for people who earn too much to qualify for government assistance including MaineCare, which is the health-insurance program that was created for those with low income or who are disabled, but who can’t afford to pay for adequate healthcare coverage for their families and themselves.

The need for aid throughout the state of Main is tremendous. At Franklin Health Access Rx, in June alone, almost 300 people received prescription assistance and the total amount of meds provided was about #380,000. Also, MaineGeneral's CarePartners program assisted about 500 people and provided about $310,000 worth of free drugs and medications.

If these programs are not able to help you for some surprising reason, another option might be General Assistance, which is the emergency-aid program that is funded by the state government and available through all local municipalities. While general assistance it traditionally used to provide fuel or food assistance, it has also been used for medications and other prescriptions.

Many grants are also people provided. The Maine Health Access Foundation, which is the state's largest independent healthcare foundation, back in 2006 awarded three-year grants which gave over $2 million to 10 health centers, clinics, and hospitals to help Maine residents get affordable medications and to also better manage their prescriptions. This foundation also funded a study of the effectiveness of state programs by the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service. The results of this study found that more than 5,000 individuals and families received help getting access to Maine programs that resulted in more than $4 million in low-cost medications being disbursed through those hospitals and pharmaceutical patient-assistance programs.





By Jon McNamara











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