8 ways to get health care when you don’t have insurance
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Between 2017 and 2018, the number of Americans without health insurance increased in eight states. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the pandemic has now left millions more uninsured. what can you do if you are one of them and need to see a doctor? There are several options for obtaining health care for people without insurance. this is what they are.
find a medicaid doctor
if you haven’t already checked if you’re eligible for medicaid, you should do so now. Medicaid can give you free or low-cost health care that you might not otherwise be able to get. You can apply online or contact your local Medicaid office to see if you are eligible. then you can visit any clinic or doctor that accepts medicaid.
search for patient assistance programs
You can get health care without insurance by looking for clinics and hospitals that offer patient assistance programs. Usually, you fill out an application to get financial assistance to pay your medical bill. this could mean your bill is greatly reduced or even forgiven entirely depending on your situation.
ask for a discount
You may be able to get affordable health care for the uninsured simply by applying for a discount or setting up a payment plan. Most clinics and hospitals are willing to work with patients to find out how they can pay their medical bills, so don’t be afraid to contact them. if you can pay cash for a visit, you may even be eligible for a discount.
go to the emergency room
An alternative to visiting the emergency room is to go to an urgent care center. Most urgent care centers offer immediate medical care for the uninsured and are almost always less expensive than the ER. They also offer care outside of regular business hours and can be quicker than the ER.
try a walk-in retail clinic
Retail walk-in clinics, located inside stores, can be a less expensive option for health care for the uninsured. Services at these clinics can cost around 30% less than other clinics. however, retail clinics are better for mild conditions or simple vaccinations, like the flu shot. In these settings, you may see a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor.
check out community health centers
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Another option for seeing a doctor when you don’t have insurance is to search your community for a free health care facility. A community health center often has primary care doctors, mental health doctors, pharmacies, and even oral care doctors.
get free screenings
If you need preventive health care when you’re uninsured, check with your local pharmacy, hospital, or clinic to see if they offer free screenings. Many of these places test for high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol at certain times of the year for free. They may also offer weight control, smoking cessation, eye exams, or free vaccinations.
sign up for an affordable care marketplace exchange plan
If you suddenly find yourself without health insurance, you may qualify for coverage even if you missed open enrollment. If you lost your job, moved, got married or divorced, or had a baby, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period. You can also choose to buy short-term coverage, which may be less expensive.
If you don’t have health insurance, don’t skip medical visits entirely. doing so could be detrimental to your health. Instead, look for ways to get free or low-cost care or coverage within your community, at a nearby clinic, or through special programs.