What to Do if You Don’t Have Health Insurance

| November 2, 2012

medical insurance If you do not have health insurance, you are not alone. The debate over healthcare reform disclosed that more than 50 million Americans lack health insurance. Proponents of the Affordable Care Act stated that the reform will mean these people can also seek medical treatment and won’t have a lack of funds keeping them from it.

Even without healthcare reform, there are ways to seek medical treatment if you lack medical insurance. Continue reading to learn some tips and to see how the Affordable Care Act may help you. Search through DexKnows for healthcare clinics and medical providers in your community.

Utilize free medical clinics and services

Many communities are home to free clinics or community health centers that offer free or reduced prices. You may have to wait to be seen because these locations are likely busy, but it’s still better than not seeing anyone.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration provides information on how to find such clinics. It also reminds people that hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities are required to provide a certain amount of free or below-cost health care to people unable to pay. It will be based on the size of your family and your income. You may find out that your hospital visit is much less than you anticipate.

Negotiate with physicians

Some physicians and urgent care facilities may either negotiate with you on price or offer you a discount if you are unable to pay. Low payment plans may also be an option if you can prove your income level. If negotiating, head to the Healthcare Blue Book to get an idea of what fair pricing may be for the service or procedure.

Seek out mini clinics

Retail outlets such as drugstores may offer mini clinics that offer flu shots or other vaccinations or even clinics that offer other help. You’re still paying, but at least you are saving some cash over what you might pay otherwise.

Ask drugstores about low-cost prescriptions

Several pharmacies now offer low-cost prescriptions for antibiotics and several other medications. Some of these go as low as $4 for generic drugs. Scan through DexKnows and contact local pharmacies to see if they offer such pricing. There may also be private groups that offer assistance.

Seek assistance for your disease

If you have certain diseases such as heart or kidney disease, there may be a charity group or foundation that offers assistance. Check online and ask around in your community to see if such a group exists. Also check with healthcare providers.

Inquire about medical insurance for your children

Although you may not be covered, many states offer free health insurance for children in low-income families. Check with your local department of family services to see if help is available. The agency can make sure your children get the care they need, reducing the stress on you so you can focus on your own health.

How healthcare reform will help

The Affordable Care Act lets people without an employer-based plan shop for insurance. The “shopping” will take place through “exchanges” that must be set up through each state. The government is mandating that, starting in 2014, people buy coverage on their own, either through a health insurance exchange or through an employer’s plan.

The exchanges will offer subsidized healthcare plans based on a family’s income. People who do not get insurance will be required to pay a penalty, while tax credits may be offered to offset the costs of premiums.

The law requires insurers to provide free preventive care and let dependents stay on a parent’s or guardian’s plan until they are 26 years old. The law also prohibits insurers from rejecting a person because of a pre-existing condition.

Keep these tips in mind if you are without medical insurance. Check through DexKnows for healthcare clinics and medical providers in your community.

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Category: Evergreen, Health & Fitness, Medical Insurance, Primary Care

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.