Are There Assistance Programs if You Have Trouble Paying Medical Bills for a Senior Family Member?
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Are There Assistance Programs if You Have Trouble Paying Medical Bills for a Senior Family Member?

Paying for necessary medical treatments or services can be an incredible financial challenge for many families. Caring for a senior family member who has various healthcare needs often requires significant amounts of money. Unfortunately, not everyone always has the funds readily available to cover the costs of these expenses. For those in this position, there are a variety of programs designed to help with medical bills related to caring for elder members in your family. 

Types of Assistance Programs

There are several common assistance programs available to many seniors who may need additional assistance with their regular medical care needs.  

Medicare: Medicare provides cost-effective health insurance for seniors aged 65 and over or those under the age of 65 who qualify due to disability or certain chronic illnesses. This program will cover up to 80 percent of most medical services, though some additional fees may be charged. 

Medicaid: Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that covers health care costs for lower-income families as well as those with disabilities. In addition, many states have expanded their Medicaid coverage so that it includes more people who may be dealing with high healthcare bills. 

Grants and Charitable Foundations: There are a variety of grants available from private foundations along with government agencies for prescription medications, home care assistance, durable medical equipment, doctor visits, and much more. Depending on your particular situation, there could be grants specifically made just for you! Talk to your loved one's doctor to get a better idea of what options might be available to help you pay for medical services.

  Insurance Coverage: Depending on what type of policy plan is in place—Medicare Advantage plans generally provide supplemental coverage beyond basic Medicare as do long-term care policies through an employer or purchased privately, for example—some medical expenses may also be covered by insurance programs outside of these Federal programs mentioned above. Carrying insurance may, in many cases, be more affordable than paying those additional costs outright. 

Qualifying for Assistance

Eligibility for many assistance programs will vary. However, there are several common factors that your loved one may have to meet in order to qualify. 

Income Requirements: Most Federal and State health care plans have an income requirement before someone can take advantage of the coverage. This also may fluctuate by state; each state has its own rules and regulations for eligibility criteria. 

Asset Requirements: Many healthcare assistance programs have what is called countable assets guidelines that help determine a person's eligibility based on property ownership, liquid savings accounts such as checking/savings account balances, insurance policies (life & annuities), and more. Typically, Medicaid has much stricter asset guidelines than those provided through Medicare or private insurance companies.  

Age Requirements: Generally speaking, if someone is 65 years old or senior, they typically qualify automatically without having to prove other eligibility requirements mentioned above. However, some services may have other age requirements. 

Get the Care Your Senior Loved One Needs

Paying for the medical expenses associated with caring for a senior family member can be challenging. Thankfully, there are various assistance programs available that can help reduce these costs, including Medicare, Medicaid, grants and charitable foundations, and insurance coverage. In many cases, in-home care services can help ensure healthier seniors and make it easier for you to focus on your senior loved one's other needs. Contact Senior Helpers Des Plaines to learn more about the care options we can provide for seniors in Chicago, Des Plaines, and Lake Forest.