Whether you’re trying to obtain insurance for yourself and your children, are having trouble paying for insurance you already have, or are struggling with the financial and emotional difficulties of a serious or chronic illness in your family, there are many resources you can investigate for help. There is SO much BS information online about getting real help that I’ve dedicated a serious amount of my personal resources compiling a list of real resources for single mothers. We hope you find the following information useful.
See below for a few reputable programs that are either free or low-cost.
Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Your child or teen may qualify for no-cost or low-cost health insurance coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Many parents may also be eligible.
Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to more than 50 million children, families, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. Medicaid covers U.S. citizens and eligible immigrants. Medicaid pays for a full set of services for children, including preventive care, immunizations, screening and treatment of health conditions, doctor and hospital visits, and vision and dental care.
All States provide Medicaid to infants with family incomes up to $40,790 (185% of the federal poverty level, or FPL, for a family of four) and children up to age 6 up to $24,350 (133% FPL). Medicaid is available in every state for children up to age 18 with family incomes up to $22,050 (100% FPL). Even if you’re not sure you qualify, you should apply to either Medicaid or CHIP anyway, and wait for a patient advocate to respond to your application with more questions. This is a government agency, rules are complex, and it’s easy to misunderstand the requirements. A case worker can help sort it out for you, and you may find that you qualify due to other circumstances.
In some states, children are still eligible for Medicaid if their family income is higher, and children in families with even higher incomes may be eligible for Chip.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance Program
Partnership for Prescription Assistance brings together America’s pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to help qualifying patients who lack prescription coverage get the medicines they need through the public or private program that’s right for them. Many will get them free or nearly free.
PPA offers a single point of access to more than 475 public and private programs, including more than 180 offered by pharmaceutical companies. The PPA is sponsored by pharmaceutical research companies, who work with doctors, pharmacists, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to educate patients about this resource. The groups behind the PPA (more than 1300) include large and influential names such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Cancer Society, American College of Emergency Physicians, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, United Way and Easter Seals.
The PPA website is easy to navigate and allows patients to find programs for which they may be eligible. You can download and print out patient assistance program applications , or call the toll-free number to talk with a trained specialist who will guide you through the application process.
RxAssist will help you learn about ways to use pharmaceutical company programs and other resources to help reduce your medication costs. The site includes a searchable database of patient assistance programs (programs sponsored by pharmaceutical companies as well as other programs), and news, articles and other tools to assist patients and health care professionals to find ways to reduce medication costs. News and articles cover topics such as:
- Medicare Part D Basics
- Federal Poverty Level Guidelines
- Statewide Drug Assistance Programs
- A Frequently Asked Questions page
The site also includes a page of links to programs that offer free or low-cost health care, organized by type of resource:
- Community Health Centers
- Free Clinics
- Social Services Agencies and Programs
- Insurance Options
Prescription Discount Programs
Prescription discount programs are not insurance programs. They are essentially “coupon cards” that you present at the pharmacy for an immediate discount on your prescription medication purchases. Read through the programs carefully to be certain you are not obligating yourself to pay a fee or use charge for some services. The prescription discount cards should be free, but some organizations offer enhanced services for a price.
NeedyMeds is a non-profit information resource devoted to helping people in need find assistance programs to help them afford their medications and costs related to health care.
Also offers a free drug discount card that can save you up to 80% of the cost of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and also pet medications.
eSun Patient Card
The Sun Patient Card is a prescription discount card program for people who do not have insurance or take medications that are not covered by their insurance plan.
All commonly prescribed medicines are covered. Savings may vary by drug and by pharmacy. The average savings is 20 percent off the regular retail price. On occasion, pharmacies will price a particular medication lower than the discount rate provided by the card. If that occurs, you will pay the lower price.
This FREE DRUG CARD program is being sponsored by a non-profit organization to help all Americans cut their prescription drug costs. Simply download your FREE Prescription Drug Cards and receive savings of up to 75% at more than 54,000 national and regional pharmacies.
PS Card negotiates volume cash discounts with local pharmacies, including both national chains and neighborhood stores, to save you up to 50% on all prescription drugs. We pass all of these savings on to you
This free prescription drug card program is being produced to help all Americans cut their prescription drug costs
Health Care Programs
Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration HRSA
Type in your address and click the ‘Find Health Centers’ button to find health centers near you. Health centers are in most cities and many rural areas.
Federally-funded health centers care for you, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Health centers provide:
• Complete care when you’re pregnant
• Immunizations and checkups for your children
• Checkups when you’re well
• Treatment when you’re sick
• Dental care and prescription drugs for your family
• Mental health and substance abuse care if you need it
AmeriPlan is a discount health care program which allows you to save on expenses associated with dental, vision, chiropractic and medical care, and prescription drugs. This is not insurance—it’s a discount program that entails a start-up and monthly fee. However, programs feature:
- No paperwork for discounts
- No restrictions on age or number of visits
- All ongoing dental/medical problems are accepted (except for dental treatment already in progress)
Co-payment programs are sponsored by non-profit agencies. They provide financial assistance in varying degrees for some healthcare costs for patients who quality financially and medically. Each organization’s eligibility criteria will be different, as will be the type and level of assistance they can offer.
You’ll notice that many of these funds are disease or problem-specific. Whether an illness strikes you or your child, these programs all recognize the family-wide impact of serious or chronic diseases and offer assistance no matter which family member is affected.
American Kidney Fund
Phone: 800-638-8299 (Toll-free)
The mission of the American Kidney Fund is to fight kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need; health education; and prevention efforts.
- More than 50,000 dialysis patients maintained their health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Premium Program
- More than 34,000 dialysis patients received help to pay for other treatment costs like transportation, medication, co-pays, nutritional products and emergency assistance
- More than 2,200 dialysis patients received assistance to pay for their prescription bone care medications under Medicare Part D.
Association of Community Cancer Centers
The ACCC is the national multidisciplinary organization that focuses on enhancing, promoting, and protecting the entire continuum of quality cancer care for patients and communities.
Its website has links to financial and travel assistance for cancer patients, and drug reimbursement hotlines and patient assistance programs, as well as a search for cancer programs (which may themselves offer financial assistance programs) and patient advocacy groups.
Phone: 800-813-4673 (Toll-free)
CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer: people with cancer, caregivers, children, loved ones, and the bereaved.
CancerCare programs–including counseling, education, financial assistance and practical help–are provided by trained oncology social workers and are completely free of charge.
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation
Phone: 800-366-2223 (Toll-free)
Candlelighters’ mission is to provide information and awareness for children and adolescents with cancer and their families, to advocate for their needs, and to support research so every child survives and leads a long and healthy life.
Caring Voice Coalition
Phone: (888) 267-1440 (Toll-free)
The Caring Voice Coalition is dedicated to helping those who suffer from serious, chronic illnesses.
The group’s Financial Assistance Program provides financial help to eligible patients. Caring Voice Coalition may pay a portion or all of a patient’s share of costs under the patient’s health insurance plan. A patient can receive financial support through one of the grants programs listed below.
- Insurance premium assistance
- Insurance co-payment assistance
- Medicare prescription drug assistance
Chai Lifeline is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children suffering from serious illness as well as their family members. It offers a comprehensive range of services to address the multiple needs of patients, parents, and siblings.
This is a program of the Scott Hamilton Cares initiative. It contains links to other resources (similar to those on this page) for prescription and other assistance related to chemotherapy treatments.
Chronic Disease Fund Inc.
Phone: 877-968-7233 (Toll-free)
CDF’s focus is to provide assistance to those under-insured patients who are diagnosed with chronic or life altering diseases that require the use of expensive, specialty therapeutics. They offer:
- Patient assistance
- Co-pay assistance
- Pharmacy services
- Reimbursement services
The HealthWell Foundation addresses the needs of individuals who cannot afford their insurance copayments, premiums, coinsurance, or other out-of-pocket health care costs.
“As patients are required to pay a larger share of health care costs each year, even many individuals with insurance find health care unaffordable. These patients face challenges affording the treatments they need to fight chronic and life-altering medical conditions. The HealthWell Foundation was established to address and alleviate this problem.”
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Phone: 800-955-4572 (Toll-free)
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services.
The organization offers a Patient Financial Aid Program and a Co-Pay Assistance Program for qualified patients. Their website has a Chapter Finder based on zip code, and dozens of information and support categories.
National Children’s Cancer Society
The mission of The National Children’s Cancer Society is to improve the quality of life for children with cancer and their families by providing financial and in-kind assistance, advocacy, support services and education.
The NCCS provides direct financial assistance to children diagnosed with cancer and their families. This program is supported entirely by public contributions, and is made available for the families with the greatest need. The types of services provided by the program include:
- Meals during treatment
- Transportation to and from treatment
- Long distance telephone cards
- Lodging during treatment
- Health insurance premiums
- Medical expenses not covered by insurance
Patient Access Network Foundation
Phone: 1-866-316-7623 (Toll-free)
The Patient Access Network Foundation is an independent, national non-profit organization dedicated to providing underinsured patients with co-payment assistance through 21 disease-specific funds that give them access to the treatments they need.
Patient Services Inc.
Phone: 800-366-7741 (Toll-free)
Patient Services evaluates an individual’s financial, medical, and insurance situation to determine who is eligible for premium or co-payment assistance. They provide help for many illnesses and offer many types of financial assistance.