Firelands Offers Financial Assistance to Those Who are Underinsured
Many people know what the term “uninsured” means in regards to healthcare – by definition it means not covered by health insurance. But what does it mean to be “underinsured”?
According to a survey by The Commonwealth Fund, roughly 31 million people in the United States are considered underinsured – meaning they have high out-of-pocket healthcare costs, even though they have healthcare coverage. As a result, 44 percent of these people either didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick, did not fill a prescription, skipped a physician–recommended medical test or follow-up visit, or didn’t see a specialist when their doctor told them to do so.
“You would be surprised by the number of people who have insurance, but it doesn’t cover what they thought it would,” said Debra Vassar, manager of patient financial services at Firelands Regional Medical Center. “A lot of people also can’t afford the plan they want, so they take a lesser plan with a larger deductible.”
However, the friendly patient financial counselors at Firelands want to make sure that everyone has access to quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. Deb said there are several ways those who are underinsured can get financial assistance at Firelands.
- Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP)* – Anyone can apply for HCAP as long as they have an outstanding bill with Firelands, including those without insurance, those who have Medicare or Medicaid, and those who have a balance after insurance.
- Financial Assistance Program (FAP)* – An in-house payment program funded by Firelands Regional Medical Center for individuals above the HCAP income levels.
- Catastrophic Coverage – A discount is given based on the applicant’s situation after a thorough review.
- Care Loan – This is an interest free program through Civista Bank with a low monthly payment.
- The Foundation for Firelands Mammogram Fund & Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio Grant Fund – Providing mammogram screening and diagnostic tests at low or no cost.
*HCAP and FAP programs do not cover charges incurred for physicians, hospitalists, pathologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, or ambulance services.
“Even if you have insurance, you need to check us out,” Debra said. “We are here for patients and employees. We try to get you down to a $0 balance.”
Debra said the billing and financial assistance department receives roughly 200-300 applications for financial assistance each month.
“Never feel like you can’t come in for services,” she said. “There is always help out there. Take that first step and call us and we will help you along the way.”
Financial counselors can be reached by calling 419-557-7879.