How to Cope with Illness When You Have No Medical Insurance
Dealing with an illness when you have no medical insurance can be scary! These simple tips will help you get well without losing it all.
The number of uninsured U.S. adults has risen over the last few years. According to the latest data, approximately 13.7 percent of adults do not have health insurance.
Are you part of this group? If so, then you know how expensive it can be to pay for medical care out of pocket.
When you're sick, though, you can't just skip out on care because of the costs. Instead, you often have to make sacrifices elsewhere.
If you have no medical insurance, it's still possible for you to handle illness and work toward getting well again.
Read on for some helpful tips for those who are uninsured but still need medical care.
If you don't have health insurance, there's no need for you to limit yourself to certain healthcare providers since you don't have to worry about staying in-network.
Take advantage of this fact and shop around before you visit a particular clinic or hospital.
If you call ahead, you can often find out what the cost is for a visit or specific tests for those paying out of pocket. Then, you can compare prices and decide where you're going to go for your care.
This is more time-consuming, yes, but it can help you save quite a bit of money later on.
Ask About Reduced Rates
Sometimes, doctor's offices and hospitals will be willing to give you a reduced rate for treatment. For example, if you pay in cash or pay before receiving treatment, they might offer you a discount.
This option is often available for routine visits, testing, and certain procedures. It's true that it's not very viable if you're dealing with an emergency situation, but it can be useful for follow-up visits and other types of care.
Keep in mind, too, that doctor's offices might be willing to give you a discount because you're paying out of pocket and don't have insurance. You have to ask them for that discount and let them know that you're uninsured, though.
Ask About Payment Plans
If you can't afford to pay your bill all at once, call your doctor's office or the hospital billing department and ask if they can set up a payment plan for you.
In many cases, they will be understanding and work with you to come up with a reasonable plan. Be sure to do this as soon as you receive your bill.
Don't wait for months until it gets sent to collections. Not only does this wreak havoc on your credit, but it also limits your options. Get in front of the issue and address it right away.
Set Up an HSA
You may want to consider setting up a dedicated savings account to help you pay for your medical care, especially if you know you're going to need a lot of treatment moving forward.
The best option is to set up a Health Savings Account (or HSA for short). The money you put into this type of account is tax-deductible. You can use those funds to pay for doctor's visits, prescription drugs, and other health-related expenses.
Check Your Medicaid Eligibility
Depending on your income, household size, and location, you might be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is a program designed to help low-income individuals, as well as those with disabilities, to get access to the healthcare they need.
You can apply for Medicaid benefits at any time. You don't have to wait for qualifying events or open enrollment.
It's worth looking into, especially if you have a severe or chronic illness and anticipate needing long-term medical care.
Look for Community Clinics
You may also want to check if there are any free or discounted community clinics in your area.
These clinics are designed for those who do not earn a lot of money and/or are uninsured. They offer a variety of services and are a good place to go for basic care.
If you're worried about not receiving sufficient or thorough treatment, don't panic. Research shows that community health clinics also, in most cases, perform just as well as private clinics.
Save Money on Prescription Drugs
Don't forget to look for ways to save money on prescription drugs, too. Sometimes, prescription drugs can cost more than your treatments. The good news, though, is that saving money on these drugs is easier than ever.
Talk to your doctor about getting coupons for your prescriptions or a free sample to see how it works for you. You can also use apps like GoodRx or search online to find coupons for your prescriptions.
If you're really hard-pressed to find a good deal on medication, you may even want to look into ordering from a Canadian pharmacy. Some even offer online ordering and will ship your prescriptions to your door for a fraction of what you'd pay in the U.S.
Negotiate Your Bills
Many people don't realize that it's possible to negotiate their medical bills down after they receive them.
Check for any errors on your bill once you open it. This might include duplicate charges or changes to the date on which you received treatment. These kinds of issues can lead to you being charged more than you're supposed to.
If you notice any such errors, call your doctor's office or the billing department of the hospital to dig deeper and discuss the issue.
Get Well with No Medical Insurance Today
If you're sick and currently have no medical insurance, don't worry. By keeping these tips in mind, you can save money while also focusing on getting well.
Do you want to learn more about saving money without sacrificing your health? We've got lots of helpful articles for you available on our site.
Head to the Money Management and Health sections today for more advice and insight into these matters.