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Consumer Advocacy and Consulting
Financial Assistance Paying Medical Bills
Presciption Drug Assistance
Q: Are there any resources or organizations that can assist consumers make decisions regarding health care and insurance options?
- A: USA.gov offers information on various topics relating to Health. They offer much information on disease / disability specific health issues, information on insurance options and other various useful facts. Click on "Health Information from the Government" for a list of organizations for people with disabilities, health insurance, health resources, and caregiver support.
- A: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services' (DHFS) offers an on-line Consumer Guide to Health Care, designed to assist consumers locate information and support regarding all aspects of health care. The guide includes information on how to find a doctor, dentist or hospital. It also discusses paying for care, available insurance options, resolving problems with your health care, who to contact if you have a complaint, getting the most out of your health care, as well as self-care help and tips on talking to doctors.
Q: I am currently covered by Medicaid due to a disability. I would like to seek employment but fear private insurance will not sufficiently cover my medical needs. What other health care coverage options are available to working individuals with disabilities?
- A: Medicaid Buy-in Programs have been initiated in several states, including Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Wisconsin and Vermont. The program allows working people with disabilities to pay a premium for continued coverage under Medicaid, just as they would for private insurance. The premium will not exceed 7.5% of an individual's income. Visit the link provided above to learn how you can advocate for such a program in your state.
Q: I have not seen a dentist for several years because I cannot afford dental care. Is there any program that offers dental service for free?
A: Visit our NHU Resource page on Donated Dental Services throughout the United States.
A: For three national programs, visit this article at Reference.com What are some tips for getting charity dental work?
A: The following Wisconsin resources offer dental care services for people with disabilities. Many of the services offer free care.
For more visit the link above.
- Wisconsin Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped through the Donated Dental Service (DDS) program offers free comprehensive dental care services to people of all ages with a serious disability, advanced age, or medical condition that do not have enough income to pay for dental care. There is no cost to qualifying individuals, however if you can pay for part of the care, you may be encouraged to do so. For an application or more information on the program, call (414) 276-0370.
(If you have used the Donated Dental Service, we would be interested in passing on your experience to others who are interested in this service, please send us your, Review a Resource.)
- Department of Health and Family Services, State of Wisconsin, Consumer Guide to Health Care, Free or Reduced-Fee Dental Services offers a list of free or reduced-fee dental programs or clinics in the state of Wisconsin.
- Family Dental Center offers free dentistry and will treat people with disabilities. Those patients who need assistance transferring to the dentist chair must bring their own assistant or caregiver. The Family Dental Center is located at 3500 W. Lisbon Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208, or phone: (414) 342-0378. The Program Service Area is the City of Milwaukee, Central City and the West Side.
- Marquette University School of Dentistry, Advanced Care assesses treatment when you visit for an exam. They will not be taking patients now until September, however, you can call and schedule after June 1, 2007. Write for more information to P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881, or call (414) 288-1510 (English), (414) 288-1520 (Spanish).
- Dr. Steven R. Schnoll, DDS accepts patients with special needs in the Milwaukee area at 2669 N. Swan Blvd.,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-1800. For more information, call (414) 258-2216.
- South Side Guadalupe Dental Clinic, 1112 S. 3rd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204, (414) 643-8787.
- Dr. David Walther accepts patients with special needs in the Madison area at the East Clinic at 49 N. Walbridge Ave., Madison, WI 53714. For more information, call: (608) 246-2555 or Fax: (608) 443-1774.
Q: How do I as a person with a disability find government assistance in paying for doctor or medical bills?
A: For government assistance in paying for doctor or medical bills as a person with a disability here are some suggested government resources. For more detailed information on each of these resources, visit our page Health and Care: Financial Assistance: Government Assistance Programs.
- Medicare Hotline: call (800)-633-4227 or TTY/TDD (877)-486-2048. Medicare.gov is the Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare.
Medicaid is the federal and state partnership that provides health coverage for selected categories of people with low incomes. Although the Federal government establishes general guidelines for the program, each state has its own rules and therefore Medicaid programs are different in each state. To find your state Medicaid agency, visit Benefits.gov. Click on "Benefits." Select "Category." Click in the box labeled "Medicaid." Select the state in which you are a resident. Select the "Search" button at the bottom of the page. You can then access links to the agency, benefits and eligibility for your state's Medicaid program.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA provides funds to Health Centers (See below), hospitals,(See the Hill Burton Assistance Program listed below) and other care facilities to help people get health care they cannot afford. Visit the HRSA web site or call (888)-ASK-HRSA (275-4772).
- HRSA's Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC): Health Center Program has nationwide clinics offering low or no-cost health care to underserved populations. These Health Centers are federally funded by HRSA and offer free or low cost health care services even if you are not insured or underinsured. Health Centers provide checkups, treatments, pregnancy services, immunizations and checkups for children, dental care, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse care. Find a Health Center allows you to type in your address and find the Health Center nearest you in text or map format.
Click on the following link for contact information of State Agencies with information on Free Medical Clinics funded by HRSA.
- Hill Burton Assistance Program is a federal program that provides free health care to those with income at or below the Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines or reduced-cost care if your income is as much as two times (triple for nursing home care) the HHS Poverty Guidelines. This is not an all-inclusive insurance program; rather it is designed to cover costs associated with services other than routine doctor visits. You must apply to the Hill-Burton facility and each Hill-Burton facility chooses which services to offer for no or reduced charge. Eligibility is also based upon family size and income. For more information call the number below or visit this Hill Burton brochure or to find a hospital that provides care under this program, call (800) 638-0742 or visit Hill-Burton Facilities Obligated to Provide Free or Reduced-Cost Health Care listed by state.
- HRSA's Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC): The BPHC has nationwide clinics offering low or no-cost health care to underserved populations. Visit HRSA's BPHC Web page.
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): InsureKidsNow.gov Every state in the nation has a health insurance program for infants, children, and teens. Originally created in 1997, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a state and federal partnership that provides low-cost health insurance coverage for children in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to purchase private health insurance coverage. States have considerable flexibility to establish income eligibility rules for CHIP, but children enrolling in the program must be otherwise uninsured. Within federal guidelines, each state determines the design of its individual CHIP program, including eligibility parameters, benefit packages, payment levels for coverage, and administrative procedures. States have flexibility in designing the benefit package for CHIP, but states are required to cover routine check-ups, immunizations, dental, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, and laboratory and x-ray services. Preventive care must be provided at no cost to the family; but premiums and other cost-sharing may be required for other services, within certain limits. More information is also available at, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Medicaid's Children's Health Insurance Program web site.
- State Health Departments: Some state health departments have information on financial assistance for medical bills. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a web page that lists the U.S. State Health Departments.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): offers FAQ on "How do I apply for financial assistance for my family." There is a list of 95 assistance programs or you can answer questions and they to determine which assistance programs you may be eligible for.
Benefits For Children With Disabilities is a website from the
Social Security Administration which offers information on financial assistance for children with disabilities.
- United States National Library of Health, National Institute of Health, Medline Plus offers a full list of health related financial assistance some specific to disability or illness.
- Some drug companies also have programs to help people who can't afford medicines or medical supplies. These companies usually work through doctors, who apply for aid on behalf of their patients. If you are interested, call the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association's Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 800-PMA-INFO (762-4636) or visit the Partnership's Web site
Q: Our child with Cerebral Palsy requires an operation that insurance will not cover. How can we fund a needed operation?
- Please review and ask questions of the granting agencies to see if you will be eligible for grants. (NHU does not endorse or nor can we guarantee any of the following services.)
- Contact the medical service and hospital that you will be using. They should have a good idea about financial aid programs in your community, as part of the hospital they may receive donations for this type of need. Fill out the forms and apply. Sometimes they will pay for it all, maybe just a percentage. You may have to qualify but sometimes you do not have to be low income or have an overwhelming amount of bills. They can also direct you to how much you would need to pay per month if you needed to pay for services as a loan.
- Contact your local Center for Independent Living for people with disabilities for financial assistance for health care in your area (Find your local Center for Independent Living
Ask for grants or other service organizations that may help you or low interest loan programs.
- Find your local Social Services Disability Resource Center. They should be able to direct you to any resources available.
- This guide offers financial assistance by several foundations: Cerebral Palsy guide.com is written by lawyers and NHU is not endorsing them but they have a good guide.
One of the foundations mentioned in the guide is the
United Health Care Children's Foundation - Grant Application Criteria for UHCCF
- This link offers several ideas such as charities or church assistance programs. Ask your family or community to get behind your need. Organize a special fundraiser for your daughter's medical needs. Need Help Paying Medical Bills
- Visit the rest of this page Health and Care Frequently Asked Questions page and page down through Financial Assistance: Government Resources
- Contact your local United Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy Foundation and ARC. Ask if they have any grants for which you could apply. Perhaps your local chapters of these large organizations would sponsor a fund raiser for your child's medical need.
- There are private and public ways to ask for assistance via social media. Review these carefully and find the one that might best fit your needs.
Q: I do not have good health insurance! How do I find assistance in paying for mounting doctor or medical bills?
- A: For help paying medicine, hospital or doctor bills, consider options as outlined by the American Cancer Society. See their comprehensive series of articles, Understanding Health Insurance for the Cancer Patient. These comprehensive articles offer complete information about insurance. In addition, it also suggests you enlist the aid of your social worker, speak to all parties to whom you owe money, possibly enlist them in assistance in your present circumstances, and consider asking for assistance for your mortgage, rent, food or utility bills to assist during your current situation.
- A: Find resources and programs to help with bills and expenses such as Budget Counseling and Emergency Financial Assistance, Free food and access to pantries, Medical Assistance and tips through Need Help Paying Bills. Use this website to locate resources in your area or state.
Q: I do not have insurance, are there any non-insurance programs that can offer assistance in paying for mounting medical bills?
- A: The Karis Group is a for-profit, health cost containment and medical discounting firm based in Austin, Texas. They offer several fee-based services designed to meet the needs of people without insurance, including negotiation of bill payment and / or write off, a pre-paid medical advocacy program, and a preferred discount program. (Note: NHU does not endorse specific providers, nor do we guarantee the services provided).
Q: How can I locate a home health aide?
Q: Are there special prescription drug benefits for Veterans?
- A: Prescription drug benefits are available from the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA). A 30 day supply of prescription medications costs only
$2.00 through the VA (disabled or low income veterans can receive medications
for free). A veteran must be honorably discharged from the military,
must enroll with the VA and must be seen by a VA doctor. The VA may
charge for a doctor visit, but your insurance may cover this charge (disabled
or low-income veterans can visit doctors for free). If you are a veteran, you can call toll-free, (877) 222-VETS or (877) 222-8387.
Q: I am unable to pay for necessary prescription medication. Are there any financial assistance programs available?
- A: RxHope.com "can help prescribers obtain medications for their patients when the patient is unable to afford them and does not have access to prescription insurance or government-funded programs." This service is FREE. Physicians can visit their website and enter their request on the "Patient Assistance Request Form". Once completed, the request is sent directly to the pharmaceutical company for processing. Ask your doctor if they are familiar with this service.
- A: Prescription Drug Assistance Programs Overview The MMA legislation provides seniors and people with disabilities with the first comprehensive prescription drug benefit ever offered under the Medicare program, the most significant improvement to senior health care in nearly 40 years.
Q: I am deaf and have had trouble communicating with nurses and doctors when I've been to the hospital. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, are they required to provide interpreters?
- A: Under the ADA, all health-care providers, including hospitals, physician offices, specialists, etc. must provide effective communication for a deaf or hard-of-hearing patient. If you are at a "critical point" in your treatment, the health-care provider is obligated to hire a "qualified" interpreter. There are tax credits available to the doctor for half the cost of interpreting services if the bill exceeds $250.
If you have been denied translation services by a medical facility contact the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 368-1019.
Q: I rely on electrically powered medical equipment in my
home. What can I do if the power goes out?
- A: Wisconsin Electric has a voluntary registry for customers who rely on
electrically powered medical equipment at their home called Medical Alert. If you
register, they will help you develop a backup plan for power outages. To register, call
their Customer Contact Center at 1-414-221-3333 in the metro Milwaukee area, or
1-800-242-9137 outside Milwaukee. For power outage, call their Lights Out number,
- If you do not live in the Milwaukee area, check your local power company
for backup plans for power outages.
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[Update September 30, 2018]
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