According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 50 million Americans have no health insurance. Many of the non-insured use emergency rooms as a last resort for their health needs, as emergency medical treatment and active labor law (EMTALA) require hospitals to provide urgent care treatment to everyone who needs it. But neglecting routine care is not only unhealthy for your body, it is unhealthy for your wallet, because a visit to the first aid room can cost thousands of dollars.
Even if you are not insured, there are ways to get affordable medical care. In fact, there are a large number of sources that can help you find the care you need.
Healthcare options for the uninsured
1. Be honest about your ability to pay
Providers have more understanding than most people want you to believe. When you discuss payment with a provider, you can be honest about your financial situation and your ability to pay lower or even eliminate your fees. Some providers have sliding scales, while others offer discounts if you pay in advance.
If you need to go to a first aid department, go immediately to the billing office of the hospital when you are released. If you have no job or cannot pay, your full invoice can be remitted.
2. View Charitable Clinics and Hill-Burton Free Hospital Care
The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is a non-profit organization that offers so-called ‘safety-net healthcare’ to the non-insured, the uninsured and those who do not have access to primary, specialist or prescription medical care.
Doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and nurse practitioners, assisted by volunteers, offer the multitude of services at 12,000 locations throughout the country. Hill-Burton hospitals also offer low-cost care to the uninsured; they are required to provide certain amount of free or reduced healthcare in exchange for federal funds.
3. Discover COBRA
If your spouse has group insurance, find out if your insurance covers you. If you or your spouse has been fired or dismissed, you should check whether you are still covered by the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Under COBRA, insurers must offer health insurance to a number of employees after leaving the employment contract. However, COBRA is not always what it has become – some individual plans are cheaper.
4. Search for government support
If COBRA does not cover you, you must apply Medicaid. If you are denied Medicaid, you must request the medical utilities of your province, if available. Regional medical assistance programs usually help the uninsured or under-insured by providing care on a sliding scale or at no cost.
5. Eliminate the Middleman with DPCP providers
Many of the non-insured direct primary care providers (DPCP) to cheap source for health care. DPCPs charge their patients a low monthly fee in exchange for unlimited office visits to primary care physicians.
What distinguishes DPCPs from insurance companies is the fact that they do not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Most DPCPs do not pay for medicines or laboratory tests, but many offer discounts.
6. Reduce medication
For some, the costs of health care are heavy because of the drug price. If you can, choose generic drugs instead of brand name. Visit NeedyMeds.org, a non-profit site, to find programs that can help you pay for your medication. NeedyMeds also has a directory with more than 10,000 clinics that are either free, cheap or on a sliding scale. MyRxCoupons.com is also a gem for people who want to save on medication.
7. Visit Retail Clinics, Urgent Cares & Community Centers
Many of the non-insured do not realize that emergency care is not their only option. You will find nearby clinics, emergency care and community centers for non-emergencies. (iTriage has a handy mobile app to find the ones closest to you.)
Retail clinics (found in many Walgreens, CFS and some Walmart locations) are usually staffed by nurses or physician assistants who can perform sore throat tests, perform immunizations, and perform sports, school, and camp physicals.
In the event of urgent care (open evenings, weekends and public holidays), doctors can treat sprains, fractures, colds and cuts, in addition to other conditions. Both alternatives are much cheaper than emergency care and your waiting time is probably Sir Helthful Plagiarism shorter.
8. Use free or cheap impressions
To treat diseases and chronic conditions effectively (and cost-effectively), early diagnosis is extremely important. If you catch an illness or disorder early, you can prevent more serious and more expensive problems later.
Many providers, including hospitals, offer a variety of free screenings throughout the year, while organizations such as Planned Parenthood offer inexpensive screenings for sexually transmitted infections. Even if you are a health photo, use these screenings to ensure that you solve problems as early as possible.
9. Participate in a clinical trial
If you have exhausted standard care options, see if you can participate in a clinical study. Volunteers participate in medical research studies to test new drugs, therapies, methods for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
10. Investigation Risk Pool Cover or existing Health Insurance plans
Many insurance companies will not agree with those with pre-existing conditions, which is a shame, because these people are probably the most insured Sir Helthful Plagiarism. To prevent medical debts and bankruptcies, investigate whether your state has risk pool coverage (RPC). Not all states offer RPC, but all states offer pre-existing health insurance plans (PCIPs). Both state programs serve people who have pre-existing health conditions and who may find it difficult to find affordable health care.
It is not easy to go without health insurance, but you still have access to affordable medical care. There are a number of sites, an excellent resource for those who want to know what their private and public insurance options are through a short participation quiz. The Patient Defense Foundation is also an invaluable resource for people who have difficulty navigating through “problems with access to care, medical debts, and job retention related to illness.”
Even if you are the image of good health, there are many diseases that have no symptoms. It is important to get routine care to detect early problems. That way you do not have to pay later.
What other tips do you have to receive affordable, high-quality medical care?
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