Ask healthcare providers for assistance.
Discuss with your doctor what your ability to pay for the prescribed treatment is. Ask if you can qualify for a financial assistance plan or hardship. Inquire about a lump sum discount, and request and/or set up a payment plan based on your financial ability.
Consider charity care.
“Most hospitals, especially nonprofit hospitals, have money allocated to help patients with their outstanding bills. The hospital can reduce the patient bill by a percentage-based discount, or choose to cover the bill in its entirety, leaving the patient with a zero balance,â€ says Moaratty. “Contact the hospital’s billing department to learn about the hospital’s options.
A big piece of cost savings is understanding and reviewing your insurance plan. Does your plan require pre-authorization of medication? Are there programs available to assist with out-of-pocket expenses associated with medications? Additionally, Moaratty says patients can look into a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan if they’re uninsured.
Explore all options.
If you don’t qualify for comprehensive programs, explore ways to save on other expenses. “Look for programs that will help defray the out-of-pocket costs such as transportation costs to and from treatment or that offer reduced costs for prescriptions. Get covered where you can–any savings will at least give you a little more to put food on the table and pay living expenses,â€ says Erdman. Also, determine if you are eligible for federal, state, or local programs. One program worth checking out, says Erdman, is the Hill Burton program–about 200 healthcare facilities nationwide are obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care. To find one in your area go to www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/.