Although the cost of cataract surgery is approximately $3,500 in the United States, many individuals still struggle with covering the out of pocket cost associated with the surgery. For patients without proper health insurance, savings or who are low-income earners, the cost of cataract surgery can still be a barrier to receiving treatment.
Many patients will also require further rehabilitation services, aid equipment and will have other related medical expenses that can also place a huge financial burden.
7 Ways To Get Financial Assistance For Cataract Surgery
1. Social Security Benefits
Social security benefits offered by the government can help patients with financial assistance for cataract surgery. There are two programs that patients may be eligible for. These include:
– Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The Supplemental Security Income program is a federal based program that is targeted to help patients who have limited financial income and savings but are in need of medical treatment and attention. Patients who require cataract surgery, who are disabled and who are in their senior years can apply for this program. The funds should be used for basic living expenses while seeking medical treatment. This includes rent, food, and other basic needs.
– Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The Social Security Disability Insurance is another federal based program that offers individuals in the United States who are disabled and employed. To be eligible, individuals must show that they have worked long enough to secure financial benefits from the program.
2. Rehabilitation Service Agencies
Vision rehabilitation ca be a requirement for patients who have successfully received cataract surgery or to prevent individuals from further eye damage.
Rehabilitation service agencies offer low cost options for individuals to receive assistance. Many non-profit organizations that offer rehabilitation services will use a sliding scale to create a payment plan for your unique circumstances.
You can also get in contact with these rehabilitation service agencies for further referrals and connections to other funding sources that may be available to you in your state.
3. State Agencies for the Blind
Every state in the United States will have a government agency that is dedicated to assisting the blind or visually impaired. These services will vary between states depending on the funding each state receives or depending on the amount of funding the state chooses to dedicate. As a result, you may find your local state to have larger agencies dedicated for the blind, whereas other states may only have a subsidiary under the department of vocational rehabilitation
Regardless, individuals can access a range of services provided by these agencies. All services are made free to eligible individuals. These include vocational training and job retention assistance. Individuals can also receive vision rehabilitation services as well as assistive technology training. There may also be the possibility of further funding for educational programs.
4. Eye Care Programs
There are large number of eye care programs to assist with prevention, management and rehabilitation. Here are a few examples of what programs are available to individuals looking for financial assistance for cataract surgery.
– Medicare Glaucoma Benefit
Medicare provides free screening each year to individuals who are already on Medicare and are of high risk to glaucoma.
– EyeCare America
Run by the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the EyeCare America is a service that links individuals who are unable to cover medical expenses related to their eye care with eye care professionals who accept Medicare/Medicaid or who waive co-payments and other fees.
There are a range of services that are available specifically for patients with diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration and eye health for seniors.
– Vision USA
Here you can access a volunteer doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye exam free of charge. In many cases, patients can also receive eyeglasses for free or at a very low cost.
– New Eyes for the Needy
If you are struggling financially and require prescription glasses, the New Eyes for the Needy gives free used prescription eyeglasses to individuals in need. In order to receive your free prescription glasses, you must ask for a letter of referral from your social services.
– Lions Club International
Available in many communities are the Lions Clubs who have dedicated time and effort in helping local individuals with assistance. Speak with your local Lions Club to see how they can give you assistance.
– The Hill – Bur ton Program
Provides free medical care or at a low cost to individuals who are unable to cover for their medical expenses. This program is only available at select hospitals and medical providers. Requirements, availability and approval are determined differently in each location where the program is offered.
– The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc
The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is a non-profit in the US that provides financial assistance to cover the cost of eye surgery. Individuals must not be receiving benefits or support elsewhere and show a true need for assistance.
– Free Medicine Foundation
Nationally, individuals can receive assistance from one of the largest foundations when it comes to receiving free prescription drugs. There are restrictions and requirements for each of the options available listed online.
– Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Individuals who do not have prescription drug coverage are able to access Partnership for Prescription Assistance for help. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers individuals financial aid to cover the cost of prescription drugs.
– State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
Get access to a list of state drug assistance programs made available to individuals in the United States through their online website. This is suitable for low-income earners.
5. Children’s Eye Care Programs
For children suffering from cataracts, there are two useful programs that can assist parents and families with financial aid. These include:
– State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides parents the ability to access a range of services free of charge for their child with visual impairment.
Through this program, children can receive regular check-ups with a health professional, doctor appointments, immunizations, prescription drugs, eyeglasses and hospital care.
– Sight for Students, Vision Service Plan (VSP)
Children can receive free eye exams and glasses to help prevent blindness through Sight for Students. These provisions are given annually to help children under the age of 18 years of age and whose family meet the income requirements.
6. Grants For Assistive Equipment
Assistive equipment may be required for individuals who require cataract surgery, who are visually impaired or blind. There are a number of grants available for individuals. These grants that are either free or will allow individuals to purchase aid equipment at a low interest cost.
Devices available include personal reading machines or accessible computer equipment. Here are a few examples of various organizations that offer financial assistance for the purchase of assistive equipment:
– Foundation for the Advancement of the Blind
This foundation provides funding for individuals to purchase assistive devices. To be eligible for the funding, an individual must specify the equipment you are wanting to purchase, the estimate cost and how the device will help you in your everyday life.
– Association of Blind Citizens Assistive Technology Fund
The Association of Blind Citizens Assistive Technology Fund is another example that provides a co-contribution grant to cover up to 50 percent of the retail price for a device. Grant is only available between June and December of each year and are subject to approval.
– National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind is a provider of low-interest loans to individuals across the United States who intend on purchasing assistive equipment.
– Texas Center for the Visually Challenged
This national program offers individuals in need of aid and assistive equipment refurbished computers, equipped with assistive technology and instructional materials free of charge.
7. PeoplePledge Fundraising Website
PeoplePledge is a free website that offers patients to create and run an online fundraiser for free. Here patients and their families can seek financial assistance and raise the funds needed for the cataract surgery.
The fundraising page created can be shared online through Facebook, email and Twitter as well as word of mouth. As a result, individuals can care for their health and well-being while receiving support from loved ones.
Where To Get Free Cataract Surgery?
If you are in need of cataract surgery but cannot pay for the surgery out of pocket due to financial strain, it is important to understand that there aren’t many places where individuals can receive cataract surgery free of charge in the United States.
Mission Cataract USA
Mission Cataract USA is a non-profit organization is one of the few places where patients can see cataract surgery free of charge. Established in 1991, the organization lead by a Californian doctor performed 21 cataract surgeries in the first year for free. Over time, Mission Cataract USA has helped hundreds of patients across the US in 16 states.
If you are interested in receiving a free cataract surgery from Mission Cataract USA you must:
– Prove that you experience a loss of vision caused by cataracts
– Due to cataracts, this affects your daily life and ability to find employment.
– Not be on Medicare, Medicaid or have any other way to pay for the surgery yourself
– Are not covered by health insurance
Fundraising For Cataract Surgery
Patients who are in need of cataract surgery can also fundraise directly for the surgery online. Patients can create an online fundraiser and seek support from friends and family. There is not cost to setup a fundraiser and to run it using PeoplePledge. Individuals can then estimate the cost of their surgery or receive a quote from their surgeon and use this amount as their goal for their fundraiser.
Fundraisers will then receive the funds and be able to use the funding to cover the cost directly. This is a suitable option for individuals who do not have health insurance and require further assistance greater than what other financial assistance options can offer.
Currently, there are no restrictions for patients to run a fundraiser while receiving other benefits such as Medicare for their treatment.
More Cataract Surgery Financial Assistance Resources
- How to pay for the cost of cataract surgery? Cataract is characterized by the clouding of the eye’s lens and has been found to be a leading cause of blindness. However, the good news is that it is easily treatable with the corrective surgery costing up to $3,500. The surgery replaces the natural lens with an artificial one and is carried out in the ... Read more