5 Places to Check out Medical Care for the Uninsured
With job loss on the rise and many people who can not afford medical insurance on their own, yet don't qualify for state or federal assistance, there are many who will skip medical treatment to save money. Your health is certainly not something you can take likely.
Here are 5 places you can check out when you need medical help but don't have the insurance to cover it:
Your Family Doctor
Many individuals do not realize it but you can still see your family physician without insurance and be able to afford it. It may take some gumption but approach your doctor about a reduction in rates for services because you are willing to pay cash. Many doctors are happy to work with you because they will likely get more money and get it in a faster time period than when having to deal with insurance or Medicare.
Health Care Centers
These are not the “free clinics” you might have in your community but there are health care centers regulated and sponsored by the federal government. These centers provide primary, preventative and dental services to people of all ages, based on a sliding payment scale. This means you pay for services based on how much income you make. Check out findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov to find a center in your area.
Because Planned Parenthood centers often receive state funding and public donations, the fees for services may be even lower than normal, but you will typically you'll be charged what you can afford, based on your income. Women can receive family planning services, plus other treatment and testing for STD's, pap tests, breast exams, and birth control for little or no cost. Be sure to call first to discuss your finances if you do not have insurance. You'll be able to get a ball park figure for how much it will cost prior to going to your appointment. ** UPDATE: An astute reader pointed out that PP is not only for women and men are welcome to be sure their reproductive and overall health is on track.**
These are the walk-in health centers located in major retail shopping chains such as pharmacies and Walmart. Typically, these clinics are staffed by RN practitioners and physician's assistants who can treat and prescribe medications for general colds, flu, and infections. They can also help treat and do preventative check-ups for conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The costs will vary from clinic to clinic and depends on your illness or treatment plan. Some places will offer “a la carte” services and some will charge a “flat-rate fee” for services rendered.
Many community groups, civic organizations, and local hospitals will offer regular free clinics for specific screenings of disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and other conditions. Check in your local news paper or group newsletter to see what is coming up in you area and take advantage of the free (or at least discounted) health services. Early detection of many diseases can certainly save your life.