Thursday, November 5, 2015

Programs to Help with Medical Expenses

By Kerry Bonney

Help!  I have insurance, and I’m still drowning in medical bills!

Medical bills for children with special healthcare needs add up fast.  Even when a family has private insurance, co-pays and deductibles can be overwhelming on the budget.  There are, however, programs in addition to private insurance that offer relief to families.  The purpose of this article is to highlight a few of these programs.

Medicaid or Medicaid Disability can be utilized as a secondary payer to private insurance, and so families should consider applying to the Medicaid program for the child in need of services.  An application can be done online or at the local Division of Family Resources office.  Eligibility will consider income and assets.

Children’s Special Healthcare Services, or CSHCS, is a program administered by the Indiana State Department of Health that supplements Medicaid or other coverage; the child qualifies for the program by diagnosis, as well as income.  The income guidelines are higher than those for Medicaid – up to 250% of poverty level.  CSHCS pays after other insurance (including Medicaid) has paid.  This program helps with co-pays and deductibles, virtually eliminating them for the child with special healthcare needs.  Of note is that CSHCS also offers travel reimbursement for trips to providers that exceed 49 miles.  More about the program and an application can be found here:

National grants, which are characteristically geared towards a specific disability, are available, and there is typically a small window for application.  Families should become familiar with the application and selection process for any grant that the child might be eligible for and be ready to apply as soon as the grant opens.  One grant available now is the United Healthcare Children’s Foundation Grant, which offers money for medical care to the insured for services which may be a serious burden on the family.  Grant guidelines should always be reviewed carefully before applying.

Service clubs and organizations, such as Kiwanis or Sertoma clubs, often sponsor small grants of up to $500 for the purchase of specialty equipment or other needs.  Applications for these types of grants are made through the club members.

For some out-of-the-box ideas and more information on the above programs, please consider watching our Filling the Funding Gaps video on YouTube, or contact us at Family Voices Indiana for further assistance with medical bills. 317.944.8982

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