With how expensive healthcare can get, it’s no wonder we’re all going out of our way to stay out of the hospital, and even the most skeptical Americans are slowly turning to alternative healing methods in order to save thousands of dollars.
In fact, it’s so expensive that practically every other country in the world is laughing at the cost of healthcare here in the US, where it costs around $30k for a standard 3-day-long hospital stay.
Of course, these costs can be even higher depending on why you were taken in, and if you’re not lucky enough, you could be staring down a hospital bill that’s way out of your budget, all because you tried to stay healthy.
On top of this, it’s important to note that a large majority of Americans don’t actually have health insurance, or their coverage is extremely limited, to the point where a slightly longer hospital stay is devastating, at least financially speaking.
However, there’s always help, and it’s often found hiding in plain sight, so let’s try and explore the topic of charity care a bit.
What is charity care?
You may have heard several terms referring to financial assistance related to healthcare, and the most common one at the moment is charity care, referring to the benefits and funds a low-income person can receive.
In fact, most of the programs available to the average American offer their services based on the applicant’s total monthly income as well as their household income compared to a certain percentage of the current federal poverty levels.
Apart from this, each hospital has its own set of requirements that you’ll have to meet if you’re looking to receive assistance, and it may be for the best to do some extra research beforehand, in order to spare yourself some precious time in the future.
If you’ve got all the necessary data, you can also use an online FPL calculator to see if your current income levels could place you within the threshold that’s necessary for receiving aid.
How to apply
Of course, you can’t know when something may pop up that will net you a hospital stay, and applying for charity care is never done beforehand, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start as soon as possible.
More often than not, this is the moment you’ve been released from care, although you could potentially begin the application process while you’re still in the hospital, as it’s usually available online and it’s easy enough to handle even when you’re not feeling too capable.
Every hospital has its own charity care policy, and you’ll want to get informed on those as soon as possible, which will usually happen right when you check in, although if it doesn’t, make sure that you’ve checked in with your doctor on that.
However, sometimes you won’t find the answers you need from the staff, and the next best place to start looking would be the hospital’s official website.
Finally, if even that’s not really up to your speed, you can call the hospital on their toll-free phone to obtain the info you need, and more often than not, a dedicated team will be available to you, talking you through the available options.
With the application, you’ll also be required to provide some supportive documents, which will be used to determine your eligibility, with the documents usually being something along the lines of pay stubs, past tax returns, and other benefits you’re receiving.
If you fail to submit a single one of the required pieces of documentation, or even worse, falsify information on any of them, your request will either become delayed or denied and in the case of the latter, law enforcement will be informed.
Usually, applicants submit a letter, even if it’s not required, as the charity care programs are usually much more flexible than the loaning programs the federal government normally uses to help low-income individuals and families.
In the letter, you’ll want to provide any other relevant information that couldn’t be found in the documents you provided, and even if that’s not the case, you may want to pull on the heartstrings of the application review team.
Even if your application may be rejected by the charity care program, you may still be allowed to appeal the decision, so long as you’ve sent in your appeal on time, usually up to 2 months after receiving the decision.
In any case, the charity care programs represent only a fraction of the assistance options the federal government has to offer, and if you do enough exploring, you’re sure to find one that’s suited to your current situation.
Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and you won’t get anywhere just twiddling your thumbs and worrying about the future without ever taking any action to change it.
Seize the day and make sure the next one is filled with efforts to secure the financial future you’ve been hoping for.