January 11, 2008



Options for an Uninsured Person with Medical Bills


By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Associate Legislative Attorney


You asked if state law provides for assistance to an uninsured Connecticut resident who falls ill and incurs medical expenses while out-of-state.


To our knowledge, there is no state law or program that provides financial assistance to residents who are not covered under a health care benefit plan and incur medical expenses while out-of-state.  Such a person may want to consider entering into a payment plan with the hospital and health care providers who furnished the medical care, or speak with a debt counselor or attorney to identify available financial options, which may include declaring personal bankruptcy in some situations.  For example, a person can file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, by which he or she develops a plan to repay creditors over some extended period of time (e.g., five years), after which remaining debt is discharged.


An uninsured person interested in obtaining insurance or other financial assistance for health care services he or she may receive in the future has various options, such as purchasing a commercially-available policy, obtaining government-sponsored coverage if eligible (e.g., Medicaid), or enrolling in Connecticut’s high-risk pool through the Health Reinsurance Association.  He or she can also seek assistance from prescription drug companies (e.g., Partnership for Prescription Assistance) and consider signing up for a medical discount plan.  See OLR Research Report 2007-R-0246 for more options (copy enclosed).