Having trouble paying your medical bills? Financial assistance is often available, if you know where to look. See if you're eligible for any of these options.
- Step 1: If you are in a low-income bracket or are disabled and you have few assets, you may be eligible for Medicaid; if you're 65 or older, you qualify for Medicare. Check out the requirements for both at "cms.gov":http://www.cms.gov/default.asp?.
- TIP: Your children may be eligible for Medicaid coverage if they are U.S. citizens, even if you are not.
- Step 2: Talk to your doctor. They may be able to give you free samples of your medication, or prescribe a double dosage that you can split in half. But _never_ stop taking your medicine, cut pills in half on your own, or skip medical checkups to save money.
- FACT: 37 percent of Americans surveyed said they have denied themselves medical care because of cost.
- Step 3: Check if you have a medical condition that makes you eligible for a government-subsidized health care program. See the complete list on hrsa.gov by clicking "Get Health Care." You can also ask nonprofit groups related to your illness if they offer financial assistance.
- TIP: Starting in 2014, individuals who are not offered health insurance by their employers may buy it through an Exchange that offers a choice of affordable health plans.
- TIP: If you just need dental work and there's a dental school in your area, contact them to see if they offer discounted services performed by students supervised by a licensed dentist.
- Step 4: If your children don't have health insurance, go to "insurekidsnow.gov":http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/ to see if they're eligible for free or low-cost health insurance so you can get them affordable health care.
- Step 5: If you require a hospital or nursing home stay, see if you qualify for the Hill-Burton program, which obligates facilities to provide free or low-cost services to people who can't afford them. Find a participating center near you at "hrsa.gov/hillburton":http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/.
- Step 6: Go to the Health Resources and Services Administration website at "hrsa.gov":http://hrsa.gov/, click "Get Health Care," "Find a Health Center," and type your address. Health centers provide primary medical and dental care on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay.