Taking Control of Financial Concerns

. Understand which entitlement programs you are qualified for. A hospital or community social worker can direct you to the proper governmental agency.

. Most entitlement programs take time to process your enrollment forms. The sooner you request information and send in your application, the sooner you will receive assistance.

. Take time to review your health insurance policy as well as other insurance policies you have to better understand your coverage. Ask your insurance company if they can assign you a case manager to help you and answer your questions.

. If you need help with hospital expenses, ask to speak to a financial counselor in the business office of the hospital. They can help you develop a monthly payment plan.

. If you expect to run out of money, or have already, and cannot meet your daily living expenses like rent and food, talk directly to your creditors. Many utility and mortgage companies, for example, will work out a payment plan with you before a crisis develops.

. Don't forget about the power of using your local elected officials. They often have resources and connections than can be useful. If you are having difficulty with Medicaid, calling the office of your state representative might help; for Medicare problems, your federal representative or senator's office may have information and assistance. To find out how to contact your elected officials, call Project Vote Smart at 1-888-VOTE-SMART (1-888-868-3762) or visit www.vote-smart.org



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