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Financial Help for Families With Children That Need Medical Attention

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    Medicaid

    • Medicaid helps pay medical bills for some people with low incomes, including children. Children may qualify even if their parents do not. Medicaid pays for things like visits to doctors' offices, vaccinations, prescription medications, hospitalization, emergency room treatment and mental health care. Families with children that need medical attention should apply for Medicaid at the welfare office in the counties in which they reside.

    Children's Health Insurance Program

    • The Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, helps pay medical bills for some children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. It covers the same kinds of health care services covered by Medicaid. Call 877-KIDS-NOW, or 877-543-7669, to apply for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

    Sliding Scales

    • Most areas have clinics that provide services on sliding scales. They base fees on your family's total income. These clinics often provide only basic health care services, so if your child has a serious illness or needs to see a specialist, they may not provide the care your child needs. Contact your local health department to ask about such clinics in your area. If your child needs mental health treatment, contact your local board of mental health to ask about mental health clinics that operate on a sliding-scale system.

    Assistance With Hospital Bills

    • Most hospitals have programs to provide financial assistance for those with low incomes in need of medical care. These programs reduce hospital bills based on your family's total income. Contact the financial services department of your local hospital for information. These programs usually only reduce fees for hospital services. If your child sees a physician in the hospital emergency room, you may receive a separate bill from that physician; that fee may not be reduced even if your family qualifies for a reduced fee from the hospital. If your child needs X-rays, you may receive a separate bill from the radiologist that interprets the X-rays, and that fee may not be reduced, either.

    Grants

    • Numerous foundations offer grants for families with children that need medical attention. For instance, the National Children's Cancer Society offers grants to families with children that have cancer, the American Kidney Fund offers grants to families with children that have renal disease and the United Healthcare Children's Fund offers grants to families with children that have any serious medical condition. Eligibility criteria vary from foundation to foundation, as do the amounts of grants offered.

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