Between the years of 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 without insurance. What can you do if you’re one of them and need to see a doctor? There are several options to get healthcare for uninsured people. Here’s what they are.
Find a Medicaid Doctor
If you haven’t already checked to see if you’re eligible for Medicaid, you should do so now. Medicaid can get you free or low-cost healthcare that you otherwise might not get. You can apply online or contact your local Medicaid office to see if you’re eligible. Then, you can visit any clinic or doctor that accepts Medicaid.
Look for Patient Assistance Programs
You can get healthcare without insurance if you look for clinics and hospitals that offer patient assistance programs. Typically, you fill out an application to get financial assistance to pay your medical bill. This could mean that your bill is greatly reduced or even completely forgiven depending on your situation.
Ask for a Discount
You may be able to get affordable healthcare for uninsured people simply by asking for a discount or setting up a payment plan. Most clinics and hospitals are willing to work with patients to figure 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 might even be eligible for a discount.
Go to Urgent Care
An alternative to visiting the ER is to go to an urgent care center. Most urgent care centers offer immediate healthcare for uninsured people 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 Retail Walk-In Clinic
Retail walk-in clinics, which are found inside stores, can be a less expensive option for healthcare for uninsured people. Services at these clinics can cost around 30% less than other clinics. However, retail clinics are best for mild conditions or simple vaccines, such as the flu vaccine. You may see a nurse practitioner as opposed to a doctor in these settings.
Check Out Community Healthcare Centers
Another option for seeing a doctor when you don’t have insurance is to check within your community for a free healthcare center. A community healthcare center usually has primary care doctors, mental health doctors, pharmacies, and even oral care doctors.
Get Free Screenings
If you need preventative healthcare when you aren’t insured, check with your pharmacy, local hospital, or a clinic to see if they are offering any free screenings. Many of these places test for high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol at certain times of the year for free. They also might offer weight management, smoking cessation, vision tests, or free vaccinations.
Enroll in an Affordable Care Acts Marketplace Exchange Plan
If you have suddenly found yourself without health insurance, you may qualify for coverage even if you missed open enrollment. If you’ve lost your job, moved, gotten married or divorced, or had a baby, you could be eligible for a special enrollment period. You could also choose to purchase short-term coverage, which could be less expensive.
If you don’t have health insurance, don’t skip medical visits altogether. Doing so could be detrimental to your health. Instead, look for ways to get low-cost or free care or coverage within your community, at a nearby clinic, or through special programs.