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The Best Healthcare for Less: Save Money on Chronic Medical Conditions and Prescription Drugs
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Share This eBook:. Anyone can use these centers regardless of whether they have health insurance. However, the amount you pay will depend on your income. If you have heart disease, you know it can be a lot of work to manage your condition and keep up with medical appointments and bills.
Patient navigators can be a very useful resource. Think of them as your personal advocate.
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They help answer questions and can be a guide to you throughout your journey, helping to ease the burden of living with your condition. Some studies have shown navigators can actually help shorten the time to diagnosis, and perhaps result in better outcomes and overall care. Patient navigators are usually nurses or social workers. You can typically find them working in hospitals or major medical centers. Patient Assistance Programs — Helping Cut Medication Costs Medications are an important part of managing many cardiovascular conditions.
Heart Failure Patient? Community Support Get support from other patients and caregivers in your community. Learn more. As insurance companies, desperate to clamp down on their own expenses, cut reimbursements for the more expensive drugs, and employers, hoping to cut their own costs, push employees into high-deductible health-insurance plans, more of this cost ends up being picked up by the patients. A paper published by the journal Health Affairs in found cancer patients are more than twice as likely as their peers without the disease to declare bankruptcy.
Many believe the passage of Medicare Part D, which established coverage for pharmaceutical costs, is partially responsible for the price surge.
Role of the pharmacist in reducing healthcare costs: current insights
The same legislation allowed for non-profit patient-advocacy groups to establish co-pay funds that could be funded by the pharmaceutical industry. These co-pay funds are meant by the organizations offering them to help people, but critics maintain the pharmaceutical-company contributions to organizations like CancerCare and others like it should be viewed less as charity and more as cover for the ever-increasing cost of their medications, since these donations allow pharmaceutical companies to stick insurance companies and government programs like Medicare with an ever-greater bill, while helping the consumers cover their share of the tab.
The amount of money is also not enough. But it is, she points out, better than not distributing the money at all. This is hardly unique to CancerCare.
Health Insurance Premiums, Deductibles, Copays and Coinsurance
The evidence is clear when you visit the websites of the funds. Should additional funding for Chronic Pain Fund applicants become available in the future, it will be necessary to re-apply if assistance is still needed. It helps to have a more popular disease: Everyone I interviewed told me it was a lot easier to find funds to assist sufferers of, say, breast cancer, than it was an unusual malignant tumor. For patients, this can seem like an elaborate, never-ending maze—and there is no central clearinghouse for the information.
United Way offerings vary by locality. Still others, like the Pendergast Fund, are targeted to small populations and can fly under the raadar. And even when medical supplicants find programs, they are not guaranteed aid even if they meet all the eligibility requirements.
Amanda Collins, 36, is a Bartlesville, Oklahoma, resident who found herself financially scrambling after first her husband and then herself suffered a succession of medical crises. The American Kidney Fund, yet another patient-advocacy fund, put me in touch with Lori Noyes, a year-old nurse living in Upland, California, with her two cocker spaniels, Kirby and Tucker.
Every medical appointment resulted in more bills. Credit-card bills mounted.
cpanel.cmnv.org/9746.php Noyes, too, found herself struggling to navigate the charities that could potentially help. A sympathetic Uber driver told her about the program. Finally, a financial counselor at the DaVita kidney-care location where she received dialysis suggested she reach out to the American Kidney Fund, which offered Noyes help paying her health-insurance bill and Medicare Part D premium.
All end-stage renal-failure patients are eligible for Medicare. But that still left Noyes with a lot of bills. There are few—if any—charitable organizations willing or able to hand out this amount of assistance. As for hospital-based charity, it can vary widely. Most studies find for-profit hospitals provide less charity care than nonprofit medical centers. A paper published by the Brookings Institution in pointed out that the non-profit hospitals with the most funds that could be devoted to charity care—that is, covering or forgiving medical bills of those who cannot pay full—are not located in the geographic areas where the need is greatest.
The higher the wealth in a particular region, the more money a hospital is likely to have for indigent or needy patients. But those patients who need financial assistance are likely to live in lower-income areas where there is less in the way of resources. The facility located in the high-income New York City suburb of Greenwich offers assistance to people with higher incomes than one located in Norwalk, a less wealthy town located a mere 15 miles away. Moreover, in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, a number of nonprofit hospitals actually lowered the eligibility ceiling for charity assistance, thinking that such a change would encourage more people to sign up for health insurance.
Louis, now only offers aid to people with household incomes of percent of the federal poverty line, compared to percent previously. In an effort to cut down on uncollectable bills, a number of hospitals are now teaming up with financial services firms like Commerce Bank to offer time-limited interest free loans to patients something that, while helpful to some, most certainly is not charity.
When I catch up with Savannah Dray—she calls me from her car, on the way back to her Tallahassee apartment from a chemotherapy session—she begins rattling off her debt. I have pathology bills. I have radiology bills. I have oral surgeon bills because the disease eroded parts of my teeth and broke them off. Now I have a regular dental as well as an oral surgeon bill. I have bills from my CT scans, which I guess would fall under radiology. I have surgery bills.
How much does she owe overall? The bills are coming in by the day, and have been pretty much since the January day she doubled over with pain, and went to a nearby emergency room. For Dray, crowdfunding was a more familiar process, so she went with that. Little wonder, then, that an increasing number of patients turn to crowdfunding even before they investigate more established charitable giving programs. While turning to friends and family and holding fundraisers for medical bills has almost certainly been with us as long as people have paid for assistance when ill, turning to the Internet to plead for help with medical expenses is less than ten years old.
Yet it has become all but ubiquitous, seemingly the first thing many people think to do when confronted by a medical crisis or tragedy. The same thing happened this year, when two men were killed and another injured by a man shouting anti-Muslim sentiments at a woman wearing a hijab in Portland, Oregon.
Recommending patients experiencing trouble with their bills give crowdfunding a try has turned into all but a personal-finance trope. Newspaper articles about successful campaigns are a staple of what remains of the local press and heartwarming articles about the practice abound. The truth is more than a bit darker. He was blunt about one of the reasons he believed this segment of the online fundraising world had taken off so dramatically.
Last year, Nerdwallet broke down the numbers and discovered that just under 50 percent of the money raised by GoFundMe campaigns is somehow related to healthcare. Yet for all the attention paid to crowdfunding, the limited evidence we have shows that for most people, the hype is better than the actual results.