Amidst COVID-19, health concerns are on the rise. Many people are losing healthcare coverage and being forced to pay out-of-pocket for their hospital bills. Research shows that a staggering 5.4 million laid-off workers became uninsured between February and May of this year. That increase is 39% higher than any increase in modern history.
If you are struggling with where to turn for resources or having trouble paying a costly medical bill, There is help. Here are 11 organizations that help pay the medical bills of those in need.
Organizations That Help Pay Medical Bills
For many patients, one of the scariest parts of the recovery process is learning how much you owe in medical bills. If you are without a nest egg, these bills can be both sudden and overwhelming. Thankfully, a few organizations specialize in helping people pay down costly medical debt.
Aunt Bertha is a social care network and an online database that allows you to search for free or reduced-cost social/human services. These can include medical care, food, job training, and more. Type in your zip code, and you will be presented with programs available in various categories. In one Austin zip code alone, there are 280 search results under the category “Help Pay for Health Care.”
The HealthWell Foundation
The HealthWell Foundation’s mission is “to reduce financial barriers to care for underinsured patients with chronic or life-altering diseases.” The foundation provides financial assistance to help with medical expenses like copays for prescription drugs, health insurance premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance, pediatric treatment costs, and travel costs. In 2019 alone, HealthWell awarded over $610 million in grants.
To apply, visit the disease funds page to see if you are eligible based on your medical condition, or recommend a new disease fund. And if you are in a position to donate, be sure to check out the donation page. 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to patient grants and services.
The PAN Foundation (Patient Access Network)
The PAN Foundation’s mission is to “help underinsured people with life-threatening, chronic and rare diseases get the medications and treatments they need by assisting with their out-of-pocket costs and advocating for improved access and affordability.” Find out if you’re eligible for financial assistance with the eligibility finder. If you want to support The PAN Foundation, you can donate here.
The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC)
The NAFC uses a volunteer/staff model to provide a wide variety of health and medical services to economically disadvantaged patients. These clinics and pharmacies restrict the ability for services to patients who are uninsured, underinsured, or have limited or no access to primary, specialty, or prescription health care.
Search through as many as 1,400 Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies on their Find a Clinic page. If you have money to give, the NAFC is in great need of providing support to the clinics in their network in their coronavirus response efforts. Learn more or donate here.
NeedyMeds is a nonprofit organization that assists people who cannot afford prescription drugs and other medical costs. They are an information source, allowing you to find programs that may help. You can search for savings by drug name or diagnosis, find free or low-cost clinics, find resources for transportation support, view government healthcare programs, and more. If you want to help support NeedyMeds, you can donate here.
Rx Assist is a comprehensive online directory of Patient Assistance Programs, or PAPs, which pharmaceutical companies run to provide free medications to those who cannot afford them. You can learn more and look up your medications at the Patient Center.
Rx Hope is a web-based patient assistance resource, providing vital information and help to those who need help affording their prescription drugs. You can fill out a Patient Assistance Request on the website.
Though it may not be the first choice, crowdsourcing to pay for your medical funds is always an option. GoFundMe is the leader in online medical fundraising, and with a free account, you can start getting relief immediately. Visit the medical fundraising page to learn more and to get started.
Organizations Local to Central Texas That Help Pay Medical Bills
While many of these charities provide aid to people across the country, several Texas-based organizations specialize in working with patients in Austin and beyond. Here are a few local places to turn if you or a loved one requires help.
Sendero Health Plans from Central Health
Sendero Health Plans offer the IdealCare plan to residents of the following counties: Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Burnet, Lee, Caldwell, Fayette, and Williamson. This plan helps cover medical services like doctor’s visits, hospitalization, maternity care, emergency care, and prescription drugs at a low cost. It is available for residents between the ages of 18 and 64 who do not have health insurance.
Unfortunately, the organization can only accept enrollments from people who have experienced a significant life change. This change can include the loss of job-based coverage, having a baby, marriage, moving states, divorce, or income change. Go to the enrollment website to sign up.
Prosper Health Coverage by Foundation Communities
Prosper Health Coverage is a program sponsored by nonprofit organization Foundation Communities. Through this program, experts provide free assistance for Texans applying for Marketplace health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Due to COVID-19, Prosper Health Coverage can only offer virtual aid. Click here to schedule an appointment.
Project Access Austin by Travis County Medical Society Foundation
Project Access Austin provides ready access to health care services for low-income, uninsured people in Travis County. Their goal is to assist people who earn too much for government programs like Medicaid but not enough to afford independent health insurance. You can fill out the enrollment form on the website.
Many Americans struggle right now to make ends meet, especially those that have lost their healthcare coverage. The resulting stress can cause mental and physical strain and make it even more difficult to weigh your options. Start your search with one of these organizations and know that you are not in this struggle alone.