Saturday, April 16, 2011

Don't Ask Any Old Guys About Financial Help for Medicine. Ask These Guys

Yesterday, I went to a library conference, and heard something that dismayed me.  Where do young people go on the internet to get questions answered?  I was horrified that they went to the library websites NEVER.  Instead, they went to places like, or similar sites which just throw the question open to whomever wanders by and answers it.  Which is like staggering into the biggest bar on earth, and asking all the barflies what to do.  From what the speaker at the conference said, if two of the barflies (oh, excuse me, RESPONDENTS) agreed on an answer, the young person figured that had to be the truth.  And since one in five Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth--and not the other way around--that young person asking the question could end up hip deep in trouble and ignorance.

So, suppose you need help in finding financial assistance for a disease or a medical condition.  There is a more reliable place to find an answer, and it's the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  It has links to places to go for health careYou can go to the upper right hand corner of the page and type in your question, or you can go straight to popular requests.  It will almost always have something about money, and on this particular day, the most popular request was prescription assistance.  Under "financial assistance," a load of good stuff came out--like this information on insurance coverage for cancer patients. Or this sheet on information on financial help for amputees from the Amputee Coalition of America.  Often, the link goes to an organization outside the National Institute for Health to directly to private organizations that deal with a condition or disease, so it serves as a springboard for even more information and support.  And finally, this National Institute of Health all-purpose health financial aid site.

Two quick notes: when putting in your search on this page DON'T use the words grant or grants, since this will pull up grant opportunities for researchers.  Use "financial assistance." Also, don't be surprised if there is not anything for a particular condition, and you are directed to the general page for assistance for the disabled.  Sometimes no financial assistance has been found for people suffering from a particular condition, unless a group interested them as scraped up the money, or has lobbied Congress to create laws and funding to help.

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