Resources for getting out of medical debt

Here are a few resources I recommend or have been recommended to me by others who have had success.

NEGOTIATING TIPS:

http://time.com/money/3938748/7-smart-ways-to-negotiate-your-medical-bills/ – A great piece on what to question and how to do it.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/managing-high-medical-bills-32221-2.html – Gives a short synopsis of different financial assistance programs and who to call.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-healthcare-watch-20150406-story.html – Good explainer on patient advocates and mediators, how they work, what they cost or how they’re paid.

CONTACTING LEGISLATORS: 

In addition to elected folks, consider calling your county’s Consumer Protection agent or your state Attorney General to find out if they can help, particularly if you think some of the charges are excessive. Both can help you familiarize yourself with state laws that protect you.  Your best bet is to Google them. These resources can help you find your elected representatives.

www.commoncause.org – This site will let you plug in your info, then find your state legislator’s contact info.

www.openstates.org – Another site like Common Cause. Seems a bit simpler to use.

http://taskandpurpose.com/local-representatives-congress-can-help-navigate-va/ – An explainer of what help you can expect from your elected officials and questions to ask.

PATIENT ADVOCATES:

www.theinsurancewarrior.com – A good friend of mine used this woman, Laura Todd, successfully. She has an ebook on how to win an appeal, plus will help filing if you need her. Her Web site says she’s won 177 appeals so far.
www.cancersupportcommunity.org – I love this group. This is the Web site of the national organization. From there, you can search for a local chapter. They hold all sorts of seminars and workshops on everything cancer, including how to pay for it. Worth checking out.

cancersupportcnj.org – If you live in Central New Jersey, here’s the link to the local chapter of the Cancer Support Community.
www.lbbc.org/get-support/additional-resources – This is a page on Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s site (another group I love) that offers some great resources, including organizations that will help pay.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE:

panfoundation.org – This is the site for the Patient Network Assistance Foundation. I admit, I don’t know it and only came across it while doing research this week. The American Society of Clinical Oncology mentioned it in its financial toxicity study. It seems to have a lot of great resources.

www.cancer.org – This is the Web site for the American Cancer Society. It can be a bit tricky to navigate and sometimes frustrating, but when you find what you’re looking for, it can be gold. The link I’ve provided here will take you directly to the financial resources page which lists programs available in your zip code. ACS also provides reimbursement for travel to and from treatment, something I intend to look into.

www.rxassist.org – In addition to programs for paying medical bills, many pharmaceutical companies are offering co-pay assistance programs to offset the high price of drugs. I can tell you, this is saving my life right now. My drug costs are close to $10,000 a month. Luckily, I’ve been able to take advantage of a Novaritis assistance program which covers the entire co-insurance cost of one of the drugs I’m on. The Web site above is a clearinghouse of programs.

https://medlineplus.gov/financialassistance.html – A clearinghouse information site that offers info on financial assistance programs and clinical trials, which costs are often paid by the researchers.

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/understanding-health-insurance/if-you-have-trouble-paying-a-bill/if-you-have-problems-paying-a-medical-bill.html – Information on a federal assistance program that’s available based on income.

Are there resources you recommend? If so, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks!

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