Are there any hospitals or health facilities that offer care at a reduced cost?
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There are two types of facilities that may be able to help.
- There are hundreds of government-funded health centers around the country that provide medical care regardless of your ability to pay. These health centers are generally run by the Human Resources and Services Administration. You may hear them referred to as HRSA Health Centers. They may also be called:
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs),
- FQHC Look-Alikes,
- Migrant Health Centers,
- Health Care for the Homeless Program Centers,
- Public Housing Primary Care Centers, or
- Tribal Organization-run Outpatient Health Programs.
People with Medicare are eligible to receive services from these government-funded health centers. The health centers provide Medicare-covered medical services as well as some preventive services that Medicare does not cover.
A unique advantage of government-funded health centers is that they may waive the Medicare Part B deductible. Additionally, the clinics may waive or reduce the 20 percent coinsurance for Medicare-covered benefits for people with an annual income at or below the federal poverty level ($11,490 for an individual, $15,510 for a couple in 2014). Some government-funded health centers may also provide dental services.
- The Hill-Burton Program offers free or reduced cost care at a Hill-Burton facility. Most states have the Hill-Burton Program. Each facility chooses which services it will provide at no or low cost. Services that are fully covered by other types of insurance (like Medicare, a private health plan or Medicaid) are not eligible for Hill-Burton coverage. The Hill-Burton program will not cover Medicare deductibles and coinsurance amounts. However, it will cover Medicaid copayments, except in a long-term care facility, as well as Medicaid spend-down amounts.
Eligibility is based on a person's family size and income (assets, food stamps, gifts, loans and one-time insurance payments are not counted as income). You may apply for Hill-Burton assistance at any time, before or after you receive care. You may even apply after a bill has been sent to a collection agency. To apply for free or reduced-cost care, call the Admissions, Business or Patient Accounts office at a Hill-Burton obligated facility.