Various grants are available to pay for medical bills. Grants can stem from government sources, such as a local or state grant that covers bills related to indigent care. Private resources also exist throughout the U.S., particularly as hospitals and non-profit foundations annually allocate money to cover unpaid medical bills.
A grant refers to money that you do not have to repay, unlike a loan. Receiving a grant usually involves a competitive process because overall demand is greater than supply (more people need help than available money). If possible, apply for as many grants as you can before you obtain medical care so that unpaid medical bills do not accumulate or get posted on your credit report. Delinquent bills will not be deleted or removed from your credit report, even if a grant later pays the bill in full.
Hospital or Clinic
You should ask the clinic or hospital where you will receive care if there are any programs to cover all or some of your medical bills. For instance, most hospitals set aside money to help uninsured patients. Hospital grants often require that you complete an application and disclose the reasons why grant funds are needed. You likely must provide information about your income, expenses, and assets.
Another method of obtaining a grant involves contacting local non-profit organizations, such as your church, temple, or mosque. Religious groups help many community members overcome financial obstacles. If your religious organization does not have sufficient funds, then you likely can be directed to another source. Non-profit foundations--such as the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) or Lung Cancer Alliance (lungcanceralliance.org)--that promote research and advocacy of a specific disease also might provide funding.
Federally funded Medicaid programs provide additional money to pay for medical bills. Each state runs its own Medicaid program and targets low income people, including children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with disabilities. You can apply for Medicaid at any time. Medicaid also offers retroactive benefits to cover bills that you incur within three months of being approved. Contact your local Department of Health and Human Services office to submit an application.
Consider participating in a clinical research trial. Many federally and privately funded research programs select participants who test various drugs. If accepted, you would receive free treatment in addition to a nominal stipend or payment.
Maggie Gebremichael has been a freelance writer since 2002. She speaks Spanish fluently and resides in Texas. When she is not writing articles for eHow.com, Gebremichael loves to travel internationally and learn about different cultures. She obtained an undergraduate degree with a focus on anthropology and business from the University of Texas and enjoys writing about her various interests.