Medical insurance helps pay for your health care. Getting and keeping health care insurance is an important part of your health care. If you have any questions about financial assistance for health care, call our Guest Assistance Program at 734-764-6893.
- Financial Assistance: Know Your Options (PDF)
- Need Medications But Your Insurance Doesn't Cover Them? (PDF)
Private and Work Health Insurance
Working for a large company is the surest way to get to group insurance. Medical insurance may be available for you to purchase through your employer if you have been working for them for more than two months and you have to leave your job. The Consolidated Omnibud Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) makes sure that employers with more than 20 employees must provide this option.
An insurance agent may be able to help you find low-cost insurance. Group insurance and
insurance through health maintenance organizations (HMO's) often costs less. You may be able to buy group insurance through fraternal or professional groups (e.g., those for retired persons, members of a chamber of commerce, realtors, etc.).
Government Insurance Programs
The State of Michigan helps qualified persons get medical insurance with the Medicaid program. Help is offered to certain low-income residents of Michigan who cannot afford to buy their own insurance. To get Medicaid, you must meet income guidelines and be one of the following:
• Under age 21 or age 65 or older
Legal residents who are not U.S. citizens can get help through this program. Non-citizens without immigration papers may be able to receive emergency help only. Michigan residents can contact their local office of the Department of Human Services to check whether they can get help through this program.
Medicare is federal health insurance. You may qualify if you:
• Are 65 years of age or older
• Have been permanently disabled and have received disability benefits from Social Security
or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months, or have permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant
Part A pays for inpatient hospital care, home health care, hospice care, and skilled care in
Medicare-certified nursing facilities. It is free. Part B covers outpatient services such as tests, visits to your doctor, medical equipment used at home, and emergency trips by ambulance. You must pay for part B.
There are also annual deductibles and co-pays and Medicare does not cover prescription drugs. Medicare HMO plans may provide additional services.
For questions, call toll-free, 1-800-633-4227 or your local Social Security office.
Veterans' Health Care
If you are a veteran, you may be able to receive government benefits, medical services and
prescription drug help. Call the VA Health Benefits Service Center toll-free at 877-222-VETS or visit www.va.gov.
If you are on Medicare, you may be able to get more coverage by buying a Medigap insurance policy. There are 10 Medigap plans offered in all 50 states. Insurance agents offer different plans, so check with an agent for details. People with limited income may also be eligible for the Michigan Medicaid program.
Free or Low-cost Health Care Services
Your County Health Department may offer many free or low-cost health services. These services may include well-child exams, prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screening, family planning, immunizations and other programs. Contact your local county health department to learn more.
Planned Parenthood provides women’s health care and birth control help. Fees are based on a sliding scale. Call toll-free, 800-230-PLAN to find the clinic closest to you.
Civic Groups and Community Groups
Civic and religious groups may offer help in paying for health care. Groups such as the
Salvation Army and Catholic Social Services can be found in the phone book under "Social
Service Organizations." You may also be able to find out about other service agencies by calling your local United Way or visiting their web site.
Long-term Disability Income
If you cannot work, find out if you have a long-term disability insurance policy through your former employer. This type of plan often can replace 60 to 70 percent of your income. Check your plan by looking at:
• How they define "disabled"
• How much the plan pays you per month
• How long the plan will pay benefits
• The waiting period before the plan pays you
Social Security Disability Programs
The Social Security Administration is the federal agency that runs the Social Security
program. It provides answers about retirement and disability benefits, Social Security Disability (SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Medicare. People must be unable to work because of disability for at least 12 months in a row to get these benefits. For questions call the Social Security Administration toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov
Family Independence Program (FIP)
The Family Independence Program provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women to help them pay for living expenses such as rent, heat, utilities, clothing, food and personal care items. FIP applicants and recipients may be assigned to work First for assistance in finding a job or to develop needed job skills. Help with transportation, childcare and other needs related to employment and training may be provided. To qualify for FIP your children must be under age 18, or age 18 or 19 and attending high school full-time and expected to graduate before age 20 as well as certain eligibility requirements regarding residency and income. A person can sometimes be eligible for FIP when there is no child in the group – such as a pregnant woman; or parents whose child is in foster care but is expected to return home within one year.
Medical Insurance and Financial Assistance for Children
When a child needs medical care, it can be hard on a family without insurance. Financial assistance information from C. S. Mott Children's Hospital describes programs available for pregnant women and children without insurance. Many of the programs have eligibility requirements.