FAQ

What Happens if I Get Sick or Hurt While Uninsured? – Women Who Money

Getting seriously ill or hurt without insurance is a concern for millions of people.

Delaying treatment for fear of not being able to pay for medical care is a genuine concern.

Reading: Sick and no insurance what to do

Going without health insurance coverage (even for a short period of time) puts you at serious financial risk.

Without an affordable health plan, preventive or routine care, illnesses can become serious and cost even more to treat.

It can get expensive quickly if you need to see a doctor, visit an emergency room(er) for a medical condition, get therapist services, or take prescription drugs.

lack of insurance can wipe out your emergency fund or cause you to accumulate debt. and in severe cases, it can even lead to bankruptcy.

why do so many people not have insurance?

according to the kaiser family foundation (kff), many people remain uninsured due to the high cost of coverage.

some lose coverage when their job ends, they leave employment for other reasons, or when they experience a life event like divorce.

And if they’re offered continuation coverage that’s charged when employment ends, many can’t afford the premiums.

Youth reach an age where they are no longer eligible to be on their parent’s health insurance plan. or they may become emancipated at a younger age and have difficulty finding affordable coverage.

Self-employed people can also join the ranks of the uninsured due to difficulty paying health care premiums.

how can uninsured people get health insurance?

If you don’t have health care coverage and aren’t eligible to get insurance through work or a family member, you can visit the federal government website healthcare.gov to search for insurance policy options to purchase .

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You can determine eligibility and whether subsidies are available based on your income level. you can also find local help on the website.

Looking for a job that offers some level of health coverage for employees is an important option. just remember that there will likely be a waiting period before coverage kicks in.

Also, you may have to wait for open enrollment if you didn’t sign up for coverage at the time of initial eligibility.

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If you are considered low-income or have a disability, be sure to check if you are eligible for assistance through a government program such as Medicaid.

some states have “charity care” programs; check with your hospital billing department or county health department for help.

Using a health care sharing ministry is a legal option for medical expense coverage over a traditional insurance company plan, and is an option some people choose.

If you’re considering buying only one catastrophic health care plan because other plans cost too much, make sure you follow all the guidelines explained on healthcare.gov.

Children under the age of 18 may also qualify for a state chip or children’s health insurance plan if your family’s income exceeds the Medicaid limits.

options when you don’t have insurance

many people think they lack health care options. But affordable care and free options are available in most communities for people regardless of their insurance status.

If you’re between jobs, waiting for medical benefits to start, can’t afford insurance, or choose to go without insurance, you may have low-cost options you haven’t considered.

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and some do not have income level qualifications that prevent them from accessing medical services.

health check events

You can find free or low-cost health screenings at medical centers, clinics, gyms, or community organizations like your ymca.

Preventive screening tests highlight a particular disease, such as high cholesterol or diabetes, to address it and prevent further progression of the disease.

paying cash at your doctor’s office

You might think you need insurance to see your primary care doctor. Instead of assuming that’s true, call and ask what the cash price of a visit is for patients without private insurance.

Acceptance of cash is becoming more common prior to treatment from a health care provider in many practices.

You can even request a discount in writing before your appointment.

pay a flat fee to a direct primary care provider

In some areas of the country, you can pay a doctor a flat fee each month to join and receive unlimited preventive and primary care services. many prefer this because it is convenient and affordable.

It is possible to combine these services with high deductible health plans (hdhp) to meet the minimum coverage requirements of the current law.

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Still, it’s important to consult a tax advisor and healthcare.gov to make sure you meet all the requirements.

urgent care centers

Seeking care at an urgent care center may not save you money over visiting your primary care doctor.

however, it is still an important option to consider for illnesses or injuries, such as broken bones, that are not serious or life-threatening.

many centers have extensive equipment and laboratories to treat a wide variety of patients.

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Urgent care centers are often open at night and on weekends when your primary care doctor’s office is not.

Look online or call ahead to find out the center’s hours and policy for scheduling appointments.

final thoughts

One of the most important things you can do if you don’t have health insurance is learn about the free or low-cost options available to you.

then if you get sick or injured, you won’t have to figure out what to do when you’re not feeling well.

Always know where the nearest clinic, urgent care centers and emergency room are.

If you have a primary care physician, ask about discounts for clients who pay cash at the time of service, before you need an appointment.

Find direct primary care providers, review their costs and services, and see if they are accepting new patients.

When looking for a new job, consider health care and other benefits in addition to looking at what your salary will be.

Health insurance is an expensive benefit to include when making employment decisions.

Even if you are in very good health and rarely need medical attention, take action and be prepared. don’t just expect to not have to see a doctor or visit the hospital for emergency care.

and remember to keep a focus on prevention and wellness to minimize health care costs now and in the future! this includes your dental and vision care as well.

further reading:

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