There are three types of health insurance: Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. If you have questions about health insurance and/or if you are having trouble getting health insurance benefits that you need, a health insurance assistance program may be able to help you. Programs may also be able to refer you to low-cost or free health care, including prescription drug assistance.
The programs listed in this directory handle numerous questions about Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. They also can help people without health insurance. The many programs around the country vary, for example, they can have different names (e.g., Office of Health Care Ombudsman, Office of Consumer Advocacy). They may be run by a government agency or a non-profit organization, depending upon the state. Some programs deal with only one type of insurance, many with all types of insurance. Still other programs can help only certain types of health care consumers, such as Medicare beneficiaries or those who live in a certain city or county. If you are not sure whether or not the agency can answer your questions, call and ask.
Again, many programs can help with more than one type of insurance, so if you are not sure, simply call the agency to ask your question.
Residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities can contact a long-term care ombudsman program located in every state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
If there is not a health insurance assistance program in your state that can help you, talk to your state legislators about creating one. Resources on establishing consumer assistance programs and a model law can be found on our Consumer Rights Center. You are most welcome to encourage your state legislator or other appropriate policymakers to explore the resources (as well as the rest of this Web site) and to contact Families USA at firstname.lastname@example.org to request free technical assistance.
The publications below, which discuss key elements of structuring a program, can be immensely helpful to anyone involved with consumer health insurance assistance programs:
Consumer health insurance assistance programs make a difference in the lives of millions, and every person who needs one should be able to get help from one.
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