Choosing between your health and your finances can present a difficult choice, but you shouldn't let what appears to be a dilemma keep you from getting help. You can find help getting medical treatment from a number of government and non-profit programs, ranging from Medicaid to medical colleges that offer treatment at a discount. Do not hesitate to search out these programs because the more you delay getting help for your medical condition, the worse off you will be.
Go the Medicaid (medicaid.gov) website and check your state profile to determine if you qualify for assistance. You'll need personal I.D., proof of income, verification of legal status and information about your resources to complete the Medicaid online application for your state. Check the government site Benefits.gov to determine if you qualify for any other federal or state program that can help you get medical treatment. States often offer healthcare programs to help the deserving in addition to Medicaid. Veterans can qualify for healthcare from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (va.gov).
Ask at your clinic or local hospital if you qualify for financial assistance; they often offer charitable programs or partner with local charities. Even if they don't offer such a program, they might be able to point you in the right direction. Alternatively, you can also ask if they accept payment plans in lieu of a one-time payment. Visit local medical colleges and ask if they offer discounts on medical treatment. Some also offer charitable programs similar to those available through clinics and hospitals.
Charities and Free Clinics
Charities and other non-profit organizations often create programs to help people get medical treatment. Speak with clinics and hospitals to find the right charitable organizations. Shelters sometimes offer healthcare to those in need; similarly, free clinics provide healthcare to disadvantaged people. Most use a sliding fee scale, meaning that you pay what you can afford and get medical treatment even if you are penniless. Check with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics for a list of clinics near you. Alternatively, you can find a list of federally funded health centers by going to the Health Resources and Services Administration. Federally funded health centers use sliding fee scales similar to free and charitable clinics.
Going to the emergency room should be your absolute last-ditch resort for getting medical treatment. You can only get treated if you are either in labor or nursing a complication that will result in serious impairment if left untreated. Furthermore, emergency rooms do not provide their services free; they will charge you for the treatment and come after you if you fail to pay the bill. Thus, going to the emergency room is the least desirable option.
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