As California’s unemployment rate continues to rise (up to 11.6% in June 2009) and more people are without health insurance, finding free or low-cost health care services is imperative for many. Californians for Patient Care, a Sacramento-based non-profit recently launched a website that provides such information. The site, myhealthresource.org, tells people how to get coverage and/or treatment at no or low cost through health services offered throughout the state, including local, state and federal health care programs. It also provides information on various insurance options; disease management; prescription services; hospital and clinics in one’s area; mental health assistance programs; how to resolve an issue with one’s healthcare provider; and information on people’s healthcare rights and responsibilities.
To access this information, a visitor simply enters a ZIP code or the county they live in, clicks on the category of interest, and is presented with information and a variety of options.
Californians for Patient Care also has links to a number of other helpful resourcs, such as:
One-e-App – This website allows people living in certain counties to apply and see if they qualify for 12 different public health care services programs (such as Medi-Cal and Food Stamps) with just one application. The e-app option is available for people living in Alameda, Fresno, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties.
Comparing Hospital Quality of Care – Their website links to 3 other comparison websites:
- CalHospitalCompare.org Hospital Rating Service
- California Office of the Patient Advocate Hospital Ratings
- California Office of Statewide Planning and Development – Hospital Quality of Care Data
Your health care rights regarding:
Another commonly used website for information on public and private health care options is the Foundation for Health Coverage Education’s website CoverageforAll.org. Information is available in both English and Spanish. The site helps people find services on the web and highlights its national uninsured helpline telephone assistance, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-234-1317. It also provides a printable reference guide and an application and enrollment database for each state’s public health care programs. Note that listings for private health insurance are not comprehensive.
While this option is not yet available, legislators in Congress are investigating proposals to provide a Medicare buy-in option for people between 55-64 years of age who are uninsured. The Kaiser Family Foundation published a brief on this proposal that explains how such a buy-in could be structured and provides a profile of the country’s 4 million uninsured individuals in this age bracket. See Health Insurance Coverage for Older Adults: Implications of a Medicare Buy-In.
People who already have Medicare coverage or are about to become Medicare eligible can call the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program for information and assistance about their health care rights and options as a Medicare beneficiary. HICAP contact information for each county is listed online and HICAP’s statewide number is 800-434-0222.