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Because we want to be sure that our visitors find the most relevant resources, we've listed these organizations in order of relevancy from most specifically relevant to most generally relevant to the topic of this page.
Population served: Everyone in the United States (check the website for availability in your area)
2-1-1 is the telephone number of a call center that offers information and provides referrals to health and human services for everyday needs and in times of crisis. Services vary from community to community.
Examples of service referrals include:
- Basic human need resources: food banks, clothing, shelters, rent assistance and utility assistance
- Physical and mental health resources: medical information lines, crisis intervention services, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention
- Employment support: unemployment benefits, financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance and education programs
- Support for older Americans and persons with disabilities: home healthcare, adult daycare, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, transportation and homemaker services
Support for children, youth and families: childcare, family resource centers, summer camps and recreation programs, mentoring, tutoring and protective services
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)
Contact: (866) 717-5826 or call your state government insurance board.
Population served: U.S. citizens and legal residents in need of health insurance
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), which is administered by your state or by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a health coverage option if you have been without health coverage for at least six months, you have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of your health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
- You must be a citizen or national of the United States or reside in the U.S. legally
- You must be without health coverage for at least the last six months. Please note that if you currently have insurance coverage that doesn't cover your medical condition or are enrolled in a state high risk pool, you are not eligible for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan
- You have a pre-existing condition or have been denied coverage because of your health condition.
- Will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available even to treat a pre-existing condition
- Doesn't base eligibility on income
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS)
Contact: (800) 633-4227 (people with Medicare)
People with Medicaid, access the Medicaid website to locate the office in your state.
Population served: Anyone who is Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) eligible
CMS' mission is to ensure effective, up-to-date healthcare coverage and to promote quality care for beneficiaries.
- Provides consumer information on eligibility criteria, billing, appeals, long-term care, drug plans, formularies, coverage gaps and preventive services
- Provides information on hospitals and nursing homes, home health agencies and medical equipment suppliers
- Offers a physician search tool
Insure Kids Now!
Contact: (877) 543-7669
Population served: Children from birth to age 18 (in some states through age 18)
Insure Kids Now! is a national campaign to link the nation's uninsured children to free or low-cost health insurance.
- Covers costs associated with doctor visits, prescription medications, hospitalizations and more
- Covers the cost of dental care, eye care and medical equipment in most states
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Contact: (800) 772-1213
Population served: Disabled adults or children who are legal U.S. residents
SSA is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with payments made on the basis of financial need. The website allows a person to apply online or to identify a local field office to visit to file an application.
SSDI is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must have earned sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker
SSI is a program financed through general revenues. SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements and are otherwise eligible. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the state or decreased by countable income and resources
Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Contact: (877) 222-8387 (healthcare benefits) or (800) 827-1000 (VA benefits)
Population served: U.S. veterans
VHA is a government organization providing health benefits and information for veterans of the armed services.
- Offers a treatment facility locator
- Provides information about health benefits: eligibility, application, co-pays, benefits for family members, covered drugs, pharmacy and burial benefits
Hill-Burton Free Care Program
Contact: (800) 638-0742 or (800) 492-0359 (Maryland residents)
Population served: Uninsured or underinsured patients needing medical care
In 1946, Congress passed a law that gave hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities grants and loans for construction and modernization. In return, they agreed to provide a reasonable volume of services to persons unable to pay and to make their services available to all persons residing in the facility's area. The Hill-Burton Program stopped providing funds in 1997, but about 200 healthcare facilities nationwide are still obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care.
To investigate a possible Hill-Burton facility in your area:
- Go to the facility's admissions or business office and ask for a copy of the Hill-Burton Individual Notice. The Individual Notice will tell you what income level makes you eligible for free or reduced-cost care, what services might be covered and exactly where in the facility to apply.
- Go to the office listed in the Individual Notice and explain that you want to apply for Hill-Burton free or reduced-cost care. You may need to fill out a form.
- Gather any other required documents (such as a pay stub to prove income eligibility) and take or send them to the obligated facility.
- If you are asked to apply for Medicaid, Medicare or some other financial assistance program, you must do so.
- When you return the completed application, ask for a Determination of Eligibility. Check the Individual Notice to see how much time the facility has before it must tell you whether you will receive free or reduced-cost care.