How to Get Medical Bill Assistance When You Can’t Afford the Cost

help with hospital bills

Even those who are young and healthy need to think about their future beforehand. A medical emergency may hit you or anyone from your relatives all of a sudden leaving you unprepared. The healthcare is really expensive in the USA, so facing an urgent illness or medical procedure can reach thousands of dollars. 

How can you afford to pay the hospital bills? 

Here is your guide on how to get medical bill assistance and cover the costs even if you don’t have health insurance.

One of the main reasons for the patients to have large medical debt is expensive healthcare in the USA compared to other countries, mentions SingleCare.com.

medical bills help

Help With Medical Bills for Uninsured

If you decide to live without health insurance, you should realize that it’s you who take full responsibility for the consequences and future bills. Whether you need planned or urgent hospital treatments/procedures, you will have to deal with the bills alone. 

Do you need to go to the doctor but have no insurance or money? 

The costs for doctor help can be really expensive. Even people who are insured may face difficulties.

Depending on the type of insurance a patient has, this period may vary in time. Medicare patients usually get billed within 12 months after the medical procedures or treatments have been provided.

Here are the best options to pay for urgent care without insurance:

  • Enroll in the ACA. The Affordable Care Act of 2014 can offer various types of insurance for consumers to select from. If you have a steady source of income, it’s better to find the most suitable package and enroll in it to be covered in case of an emergency (at least partially).
  • Ask for help. Don’t hesitate to ask at the practice or hospital if they can reduce the total cost of the treatment or give you a discount. In fact, many hospitals will agree to provide reduced fees for patients who need financial assistance for medical bills and have no insurance. Also, there is a chance some doctors will accept an early payment in advance. This way you may save some cash on a baby delivery or other medical tests that aren’t urgent.
  • Research doctors and hospitals. If you don’t have an emergency and can wait some time until the procedure or treatment, use this time to your advantage and shop around for the lowest doctor fees. Various hospitals and healthcare practices have different charges. You can easily call or visit the websites to get more details about the prices.
  • Save on pills. Some hospitals will agree to provide free samples of medications upon request. Feel free to explain your current financial condition and ask for free pills or alternative medications that cost less. More than that, taking some time to find a pharmacy with the most affordable prices is totally worth it. This method won’t help in case of emergency but it can be rather helpful in terms of medical bill help.

According to the National Health Expenditure Data, spending on health insurance grew to $1,243 billion last year. But the average U.S. patients spend $365.5 billion annually to cover medical costs. So, it is worth considering health insurance to get yourself protected in case of a medical emergency.

Help With Medical Bills After Insurance

For those patients who have health insurance, there is still the need to know exactly what it covers. It’s your responsibility to figure out what procedures and treatments will be fully covered and which ones are set to be copaid or fully financed by you. 

If you know these details you are most likely to visit only the doctors within your network. In case you know that you will need to undergo a certain procedure that isn’t covered by your insurance, make sure you ask about its price in advance and know how to pay medical bills when they appear.

People who can’t afford to buy insurance may turn to various national organizations, charities, or governmental programs that are aimed at assisting such patients in need. However, they don’t cover all the expenses, and not every patient can qualify.

Another important idea is to reread and check the charges. Doctors and hospitals may accidentally make mistakes or charge twice for the same treatment. It pays to be serious and contact the doctor’s office if you notice any errors in the bills or if you were charged more than it has been previously discussed.

“Medical debt is connected with health insurance,” states Kenneth Thorpe, the leader of the Department of Health Policy at Emory University, USA. “About 30 percent of patients between the ages of 27 and 45 are uninsured, so this is when medical debt starts to appear.”

Thus, it’s essential to start looking for the most affordable and suitable insurance package so that medical emergencies won’t turn your life into a nightmare.

In case a patient can’t pay the bills for some reason, they will be later transferred to the collection agencies. Such a scenario is worse than trying to negotiate your bills. But if a patient fails to respond even to a collection service, they may face a lawsuit, which is the worst case.

The following graphic shows particular hospital services that resulted in having medical debt.

Medical Bills on Credit Report

You may not know but your credit rating may be negatively affected by late or missed medical bills. This is especially important to keep in mind for consumers who already have poor credit and want to make everything possible to repair it. 

Do you need financial help with medical bills?

Yes, if you accumulate bills and fail to pay them on time, they may eventually hurt your credit history. Experts suggest paying attention to the bills you receive and always try to repay them until this debt is sent to the collection agency.

Here is what you may do to avoid credit reports with medical debt:

  • Never ignore the bills. The worst thing that can happen is ignoring the bills including the ones from hospitals. If you miss payments or don’t finance your treatments you may face medical debt collection. Then it will be even harder to get rid of it and repair your score.
  • Avoid paying with credit cards. If your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of your medical procedures, you may be tempted to fund them with a credit card. However, this is not the best method and it may result in having an endless debt with high interest rates. Eventually, this situation may affect your credit rating. And this is certainly not what you are looking for, right? Select another payment option or negotiate the bills.

Experts advise keeping all the bills and receipts for medical procedures within one year. Insurance companies might ask to prove certain treatments or hospital visits.

Organizations That Help Pay Medical Bills

Do you need help with medical bills for low income? Do you have children? Are you senior or disabled and simply can’t afford to cover all the hospital expenses? 

The recent poll by Gallup and the West Health nonprofit organization revealed the fact that $88 billion was borrowed by American patients last year to cover the medical expenses. Furthermore, one in four people refused taking necessary medical treatments because of the high cost.

Luckily, there is a way out. Many national organizations can help pay for everything. However, before you start searching these companies in your area, bear in mind that such organizations depend largely on donations so there is a high demand but not enough programs for everyone. You will need to prove that you urgently need help with unpaid medical bills and you cannot finance them on your own.

There are special charities, nonprofit organizations and government programs that may be helpful when a patient can’t afford to pay the bills in full and needs some help. It is necessary to search for the most suitable program or charity that specializes in your particular illness or provides help for a certain category of patients (seniors, families with low income, or households with several children).

Charities That Help with Medical Bills

Here are the most widespread charities that can also offer financial help to those in need.

This non-profit organization is devoted to helping every person (even those without health insurance) get qualified medical help and life-saving procedures. So, you can contact it in case you are uninsured and can’t fund the necessary treatment. This service is helping over 200,000 people in need each year.

This charity organization is aimed at providing quick financial help for patients who fight with cancer. They believe each patient who suffers from this awful illness should have the right to get professional medical help. So, this service is ready to finance chemotherapy for those in need.

This society was founded to help every patient with these illnesses receive qualified hospital help and finance the necessary treatments. More than that, the charity is ready to cover the costs of procedures for people with low income or specific conditions.

PAN or the Patient Access Network was founded in 2004 and has already helped more than half a million patients receive quick financial assistance with their medical bills. This foundation has its website with plenty of relevant programs to choose from. They are ready to cover various treatments for numerous dangerous illnesses.

Government Help with Medical Bills

Also, the U.S. government may help cover the bills for various procedures and treatments. Several programs allow patients with various diseases to receive the necessary funding or copayment of their bills from hospitals. 

Check if you qualify for Medicaid, which is a popular health insurance program funded by the government. This may be your chance to decrease the total cost of the treatment or get certain procedures free of charge.

Local community health centers may also become a great opportunity to get medical debt relief. If you don’t face an emergency, take some time to search for the local community health hospitals and clinics that may offer certain monetary help. 

Numerous local charitable companies and organizations may become helpful for patients with low income.

Establish a plan, review the bills for any mistakes, and try to negotiate the medical bills. Don’t hesitate to ask for a discount or for an extended period to pay them out.

Medical Loans

Have you tried all of the above-mentioned strategies for seeking monetary help? If you aren’t eligible for various programs and have been rejected by the government organizations, there is no need to panic. The solution is closer than you may think. Why don’t you apply for a medical loan?

This is another form of an emergency loan that can be taken for a stated period and doesn’t need to be secured by collateral. This method is also widespread among patients who got large bills from hospitals and haven’t saved enough to cover them. It works really well when you don’t want to let the bills pile up or go to the collection agency.

Help With Medical Bills in Collections

If you failed to pay the medical debt on time and it was transferred to the collection agency, you still have a chance to negotiate it. Provide the proofs of low income or bankruptcy as a reason for non-payment and ask for an extended time frame to be able to pay the debt in full.

What if you missed the payment or completely forgot to pay the bills on time? 

It may be tempting to ignore the necessary payments and pretend they don’t exist. However, it doesn’t work this way and every debt will eventually need to be repaid. In case you failed to pay the bills off, they will be transferred to the collection bureau.

According to the Ripmedicaldebt.org, 79 million Americans select between paying for food or covering their medical bills each day. More than that, 66 percent of all bankruptcies in the USA are connected with the problem to pay the medical costs. 

However, you should understand the need to search for the most suitable option, ask for financial help from the government, non-profit organizations and charities until you find it. 

Paying hospital bills making small payments can be another way out. Otherwise, the hospitals may sell the patient’s debt to the collection office. Then the patient will face even more hardships with unwanted phone calls, messages or emails. This whole situation can be really uncomfortable and frustrating, so it’s better not to postpone covering the medical costs.

There is no minimum monthly payment as the total cost for hospital services depends on each patient. Also, it is possible to negotiate the medical bills and discuss the option of repaying them partially over a certain time.

Medical Debt

Facing a medical debt can be a serious problem for your future credit rating. If you don’t want to let it affect your credit history, make sure you take the necessary steps and get rid of this debt

In case the patient ignores the messages and phone calls even from the collection agency, they may face a lawsuit that will require them to cover the payment in full sooner or later. It pays to be accountable for your financial situation and try your best to find the most suitable funding solution to avoid such nightmares.

Don’t wait until your financial stability is destroyed by the mountain of bills. Be proactive and follow these steps to get all the medical expenses covered.

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