Paying for Medical Care

Learn about sources of financial help for medical care.

Help with Medical Bills

Learn about the state and federal health insurance programs that may offer help with paying for bills or payment options:

Options for Lowering Medical Costs or Treatments

  • Community clinics - Local community health centers offer free or low-cost medical services including prenatal care.
  • Clinical Trials - Weigh the benefits and risks if you decide to participant in one.
  • Medical schools - Find programs such as student-run clinics that help underserved communities.
  • Research institutes - Check Cancer.gov or NIH.gov to find a study seeking participants.
  • Prescription drugs and medical devices - Get help with lowering the cost.
  • Other resources - Find suggestions on how to manage medical expenses.


Medical Bills From an Unexpected Hospital Visit:

Call the insurance company and call the hospital about the invoice:

  • Identify possible billing errors
  • Negotiate a reduction 
  • Discuss possible payment plans

Help with Low-cost Dental Plans:

Learn about the dental coverage options from local and state health programs, government insurance plans, dental schools, and clinical trials for people with limited incomes.

Help with Low-Cost Vision Plans:

Learn about financial assistance programs to help with eye exams, surgery, prescriptions or glasses.


Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)

Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), you're guaranteed access to an emergency medical evaluation, even if you can't pay. The act requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding and that provide emergency services to evaluate anyone who comes to their emergency room and requests treatment. If the evaluation confirms that you have an emergency medical condition, including active labor, they are then required to provide stabilizing treatment for you regardless of your ability to pay.

Charity Care Programs

Charity care programs help uninsured patients who can't afford to pay their medical bills and don't qualify for government aid. The patient services department of your hospital can help you find out if you're eligible. Reach out to the hospital before the medical service and explain your situation. If you don't qualify, the hospital may offer you a payment plan.

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Help with Prescription Drug Costs

If you're looking for help paying for your prescriptions, there are a number of local and federal agencies and programs you can contact:

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Last Updated: July 18, 2017

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