Major Life Challenges Blog Series

We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.

Financial Aid for Hospital Bills: Do you qualify?

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Financial Aid for Hospital Bills: Do you qualify?There is a little known secret in the healthcare industry, financial aid programs for those who qualify. The cost of healthcare today is out of reach for many who are living without insurance or inadequate coverage causing devastating debt and a financial burden many of us are not prepared for.

If you don't have health insurance or lack adequate coverage you may be able to participate in the hospital's financial aid programs.

Many hospitals have a financial aid department located within billing and collections. Surprisingly very few people are aware it exists, or the power they have to reduce or eliminate your bill based on need.

Who qualifies?

In order to obtain assistance you must meet certain qualifications and guidelines set by the hospital. In most cases they are as follows:

  • Your annual income must not exceed 200% of the federal poverty level to qualify for 100% coverage. If your income exceeds the limit, you may qualify for reduced financial aid.
  • If you have a medical emergency that exceeds the medical debt-to-income ratio by 30% they may cover the portion over that percentage.

What Steps do I need to take?

In order to be considered you must use all of your available resources first.

  • Your insurance coverage both primary and secondary if you have it.
  • Medical assistance if you qualify. This would be any available federal and state aid programs such as Medicaid.

If both have been exhausted and you still have a bill you can't pay, its time to hit up the hospitals financial aid department. 

What will I need to apply?

In order to be considered for assistance you will be required to provide documentation of your financial situation. Be prepared to back up your case.

  • Proof of your annual income.
  • A list of your assets.
  • Savings and investment information including: savings and checking account balances, CD's, money markets and retirement funds.

If you are in a situation where you are not receiving income or you don't have any assets you will also need to provide proof of that. 

Before you panic about a mounting hospital bill, be sure to visit the hospital's financial aid department. You may be surprised to find you may be able to eliminate a portion or the entire bill just by looking into this little known secret.

More Posts From our Series; Medical Debt, Expect the Unexpected:

My Medical Debt Story

7 Things to Know about Paying Off Medical Debt

Medical Emergency Strikes: Who Do I Pay 1st?

Suzanne CramerSuzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne Debt Relief Services. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt. Follow Suzanne on Twitter @ADivorcedMom  and @AskCareOne where she shares her insights on divorce and managing your finances.

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