How to Get Affordable Health Care

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.

Instructions

  • 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.

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