If you don’t have health insurance or if you just don’t earn much money, you may have difficulty paying hospital bills. Fortunately, you may also qualify for assistance with some or all of your bills if you have low income. You can apply for assistance after you receive a bill you cannot pay or you can apply for assistance before you seek treatment at a hospital if your medical needs are not urgent.
Contact the billing office at the hospital where you received treatment and ask if they have a program that helps reduce hospital bills for people that can’t afford to pay the full amount. Most hospitals do. Sometimes they even include an application for assistance when they mail you a hospital bill but if not, call and ask for one.
Fill out the application for assistance and provide any documentation required by the hospital. They usually ask for verification of your household income, information about any health insurance policies you have and may want other information as well. You can qualify for assistance even if you have health insurance so don’t worry about providing the requested information. If you have trouble filling out the application, just ask for assistance at the hospital billing department.
Return your application for assistance to the hospital as soon as possible to prevent a delay in processing your request. There may also be a deadline; if you wait too long, you may not long qualify for help with your hospital bills.
Apply for Medicaid if the hospital is unable to help with your hospital bills or if they cannot offer enough assistance. Actually, if you have trouble paying medical bills you should apply for Medicaid even if the hospital does provide adequate assistance with your hospital bills because Medicaid will cover other health care services you may need in the future. To apply, contact the agency that administers Medicaid in the county in which you live.
If you need assistance, apply for help with your hospital bills even if you think you might not qualify. You might be surprised and you have nothing to lose by completing an application.
You can also contact the hospital social worker and ask about any other forms assistance for which you might qualify.
CMS. http://www.cms.gov/MedicaidGenInfo/. Medicaid Overview.
Information from Financial Assistance Office, MedCentral Hospital, Mansfield, Ohio.