Harris Health’s Financial Assistance Program assists families in need

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HOUSTON – According to the US government, more than 31 million people lacked health insurance in 2020.

At this time, numbers for those uninsured in 2021 are still not available.

Locally, thousands of people throughout Harris County currently depend on Harris Health’s Financial Assistance Program. This program offers Harris County residents assistance and access to quality healthcare who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

“Bad things happen to good people,” explained George White, a Harris County resident who suffered a stroke in 2017. “I had to close my business. I lost my income. I lost my health insurance. For the first time in my life, I had to ask somebody else for help. I needed to learn my humility.”

White ended up in an emergency room needing stints in his heart.

“I was so upset, scared. How was I going to take care of this, pay the bill?” White said.

He learned about Harris Health’s Financial Assistance Program.

Pollie Martinez is Associate Administrator of Patient Access with Harris Health System. She said, “Our mission is to improve our communities healthy by delivering high quality care to the residents of Harris County. This program is a program for Harris County residents who meet certain qualifications, and that are below 150-percent of federal poverty index guidelines. As of September 30, 2021, we currently have 90-301 individuals enrolled in our financial assistance program.”

Martinez said if it were not for this program, these more than 90,000 people wouldn’t have access to healthcare to meet their healthcare needs.

“There is no cost, there is no cost to apply. There are nominal co-pays and once patients qualify for this program; however, if patients are not able to pay for those co-pays, it does not prevent them from accessing cares. And the patients will never receive a bill,” Martinez explained.

For White, this assistance provided him with relief to recover.

“This is not a handout; this is a hand up. It was a feeling of ‘deep breath’ and I don’t know you put that in words,” explained White.

This is not health insurance-- it is a program that provides assistance to Harris County residents. For more information on this program, more on eligibility and how to apply, click here.

Also, there is a similar program in Montgomery County. HCAP serves as the Indigent Health Care Program designed to provide covered healthcare services to eligible, low income residents who have no other public or private health care benefits. MCHD contracts for services with local physicians, hospitals, and other providers. Click here for more information.


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