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. If you have questions, you can also use their Medicare Support Center which allows you to search FAQ's and submit questions and they will keep you posted on answers.
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): The HHS Web site offers information on financial assistance for families and children under the heading "Financial Assistance."
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.
- The Arc offers Family Guides by State for benefits, supports & services for families raising children with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities. Select your state from the list.
- 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: 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 article, Medical Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient. This comprehensive article offers 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).
- A: State of New Jersey Health Link Financial Assistance page offers a comprehensive list of programs that offer financial assistance or reduced fees for health-related services in New Jersey.
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: Pharmaceutical and Manufacturers Association has a directory of Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs "It lists company programs that provide drugs to physicians whose patients could not otherwise afford them." Entries for each program include information about "how to make a request for assistance, what prescription medicines are covered, and basic eligibility criteria."
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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