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Finding Affordable Health Insurance & Health Care - Challenges for Special Groups

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Charity Care Policies at California Hospitals

California's state web site allows people to search and download each CA hospital's financial assistance policy and application. Patients whose incomes are near the Federal Poverty Level (up to 3.5 times FPL, or more), may be eligible for free or discounted hospital care. Average consumers are unlikely to understand the 20-page policies, so we'd suggest getting a consumer advocate to help interpret legal language

Clinics for Underserved Populations (HRSA)  Editor's Pick

List of federally funded community health centers that provide primary care, pregnancy care, physician office visits, immunizations, dental care, mental health and other services, regardless of ability to pay. Search by state, county or zip code. Every state appears to have special clinics for those without insurance. Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) have sliding fee scales for people up to 200% of poverty level

Farm Families and Ranches: Health Insurance Survey (pdf)

Series of reports on the 2007 Health Insurance Survey of Farm and Ranch Operators, finds most farmers are insured, with 54% of insured farmers getting health insurance through off-farm employment, and 36% purchasing it on their own directly (vs. 8% nationally). Farm families purchasing their own (non-group) insurance typically spent $11,200 per year out-of-pocket for care and premiums, vs. $5600 median expenditure for those with off-farm employment. Feb-March 2007 telephone survey (80% response rate, with 2017 respondents) of non-corporate farmers and ranch operators in Iowa, MN, ND, SD, MT, MO and NE, by The Access Project (a nonprofit social justice program), with Brandeis University and the Center for Rural Health at UND. Link is to the 3rd issue report; see full series of reports 2007-2009

Financial Assistance for Kidney Dialysis Patients (AKF)

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) lists Patient Aid Programs (call toll-free at 1.866.300.2900) for qualified patients to get direct financial assistance for dialysis or kidney failure costs.

How Much Does an Office Visit cost compared to an ER visit?

An average physician office visit in 2008 cost $199, compared to $922 for an Emergency Room visit (median was $89 for doctor's visit, vs. $422 for ER). Top 5 conditions shown for each ambulatory care visit type. Consumers should expect considerably higher prices since 2008. MEPS data published in Statistical Brief #318, March 2011

Medical Cost Advocate

If you need help negotiating your bills, this commercial company will help get the price down. They take 35% of the savings.

Other Helpful Listings

Low Cost and Free Dental Care

Dental clinics are included in this database of federally-funded health centers. HRSA.gov website covers all states

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