How To Get Free or Discounted Medical Care, Even If You Can’t Get Medicaid
It seems like most people have heard of Medicaid, but when you need to actually apply…you’re denied.
And we all know someone who has always only been on Medicaid…why is it so easy for them and so hard for the rest of us?
You were probably declined because you make too much. It may seem impossible, but even incomes that seem like they have no room for anything extra can very easily make too much to get medical assistance. Fortunately, you do have several other choices available to you, they are just not nearly as well known as Medicaid is.
Low-Cost State Insurance For Kids
Every state in the United States currently has low-cost state health insurance for kids. Many of them will also insure pregnant women. The program itself is very similar to Medicaid, but instead of providing entirely free medical care, requires a small annual fee ( for your entire family) and small co-pays for all of your medical needs, including prescriptions.
This program is income-based, and as a result, certain families will pay more for their health care than other families. It has been estimated that there are approximately ten million children in this country who do not have any health insurance at any given time. Of those children, 71% of them live in households that earn less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. If you need help finding the contact information for your state’s low cost insurance, you can call 1-877-543-7669, or go to : http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/.
So You Need To See A Doctor Right Now
If you need to get medical care right away, you’ve got a few options. For immediate, life threatening situations, you should probably go to the emergency room. They are legally required in most states to see you, regardless of your insurance status, and to stabilize you. That means you will receive all medically necessary services to preserve your life. That does not mean that you should go to the ER for minor problems, as that will only make it take longer to get your medical care.
However, they also have the right to bill you for their services. What they might not tell you is that there are a lot of financial aid and grants that the hospital staff may not tell you about unless you ask.
There are a lot of staff members who do not know anything about it, even the ones whose job it is to set you up with billing arrangements. If they cannot tell you about this type of help at the hospital, you will probably need to speak with a social worker there, and they should be able to help you.
The bottom line is that you can apply for financial aid at the hospital, so you should not agree to the payment arrangements that they may very well offer BEFORE giving you any financial aid information. After all, if you could afford to pay a few hundred dollars a month for medical care, you probably would have gotten private insurance. If you leave the hospital with prescriptions, ask if they will fill them for you there before you leave. If you’re getting financial aid at the hospital, it will typically cover your prescription costs, so you might be able to get your medicines at a large discount or for free as well.
So You Need To See A Doctor Soon
Before you go into a minor emergency, and pay a lot of money, or go to the instant clinics that are available in some pharmacies, you should know that there are federally funded health centers in almost every city and some rural areas. The fees that you are responsible for are based on your ability to pay, and you are not required ( or even expected) to have health insurance.
These centers will provide:
1) Dental care for you and your family
2) Obstetrical care during pregnancy
3) Well-child appointments for children, as well as necessary immunizations
4) Checkups for you, to make you’re healthy
5) Medical care when you or your kids are sick
6) Substance abuse treatment or mental health evaluations and care if you need them.
Each clinic receives a significant amount of their funding each year from federal funds. Therefore, the bulk of their budget does NOT come from patients. If you would like to find the nearest location to you, go to the following website: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/GoogleSearch_HCC.aspx.
Needing To Find Obstetrical Care
If you’re not eligible for Medicaid, and can’t find a federally funded health center near you, you might want to find another clinic in your area. Getting adequate prenatal care is one of the best things you can do for your baby, and yet each year almost one million women are forced to deliver their babies without any care at all. If you need more information on a local clinic, call 1-800-311-2229, and they will be able to connect you to people that can help in your area. For more information, visit http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/womeninfants/prenatal.htm
For Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings And Treatment
One of the scariest things that can happen to a low-income woman is the possibility of cancer. The federal government has allocated funds in order to help these women, who are all too often denied access to medical care, get the treatment they deserve. If eligible, low-income women in every state can receive:
1) Pelvic exams
2) Pap tests
4) Breast exams
5) Necessary Testing
6) Referrals for any necessary medical tests, depending on the results
Women between the ages of 18 and 64, with an income level of no more than 250% of the federal poverty level are typically eligible for cervical cancer screenings, and women 40-64 in the same income level will be eligible for breast cancer screenings.
To contact the nearest location to you, follow this link: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/about.htm
Seeing What You Can See
Getting all the access to paper forms in the world will not be very much help to you if your vision is compromised. If you are diabetic, have glaucoma, or are at least 65 years of age, you may be eligible for free vision screenings and care from EyeCare America . Although certain other qualifications will still apply, eligible participants receive at least a free vision screening, and may receive up to a free year’s worth of vision care. Eyeglasses are not covered, but just having a prescription has the possibility of saving you a lot of money.
More than 7,500 dentists volunteer each year to provide these services. If you would like to apply, go to their website at http://www.eyecareamerica.org/, or call them at 1-877- 887-6327.
The state of medical care in this country is changing often, and is scheduled to show some dramatic resources over the next few years. Although it can seem incredibly difficult to navigate the murky waters of medical care on a limited budget, there is a lot of help out there if you look for it.
If at all possible, it is usually best to take advantage of clinics that offer checkups and preventative care, because if you wait till you are really sick or in pain to see a doctor, you might have to suffer while you make phone calls.