Despite efforts such as the Affordable Care Act, the cost of health insurance remains prohibitively high for many people in the United States. Free or low-cost care may be available in certain locations, and a person can take some steps to reduce costs further.

    In 2018, 27.5 million people in the U.S. had no health insurance. This figure represented 8.5% of the population.

    As a result, many people are faced with unaffordable medical bills and debt. However, depending on a person’s location, they may be able to access some free or reduced-cost services.

    Below, we explore options and strategies for receiving this care.

    Some states provide “charity care,” medical care that is free or has reduced rates. A person may need to apply for this, but some states screen for it automatically. Eligibility depends on a person’s income and assets.

    To learn about the options, a person can contact their state’s insurance department or reach out to the social worker or financial assistance department at a local hospital.

    These are nonprofit health centers. If a person has no insurance, the staff at these clinics may provide some care for free.

    Or, they may charge a fee on a sliding scale, taking into account a person’s financial situation.

    Community health centers may not be able to offer care for some health issues. Still, depending on the clinic, they may provide the following services :

    • basic medical care
    • prenatal and perinatal care
    • vaccinations
    • family planning services
    • other forms of preventive care
    • ongoing care for chronic conditions such as diabetes , heart disease , and asthma
    • dental care
    • behavioral health services, such as care for alcohol use disorder or eating disorders
    • radiology services

    At a community health center, a person may also be able to access free or low-cost prescriptions.

    A person does not need to make an appointment at a walk-in clinic or urgent care center, and some offer free or reduced-cost care for people without health insurance.

    It can be a good idea to contact local clinics and care centers ahead of time and ask about fees and options for people without insurance.

    Emergency room staff cannot deny care or treatment to people without insurance, but they do charge for their services.

    The fees of emergency rooms are higher than those of urgent care centers. It may be a good idea to research and consider what situations might warrant a visit to each place.

    For injuries or illnesses that are serious but not life threatening, a person might visit an urgent care center.

    A person should likely receive care in an emergency room if they experience:

    • severe chest pain
    • severe abdominal pain
    • shortness of breath
    • a high fever
    • vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
    • persistent vomiting
    • symptoms of poisoning, such as a change in pupil size and breathing
    • a severe head injury
    • a severe eye injury
    • paralysis
    • unconsciousness

    The costs vary significantly depending on the type of doctor, the type of treatment, the medical issue, and even the location of the clinic.

    According to debt.org , the average cost of a single doctor’s visit is roughly $70–250. However, this can rise sharply if there is a need for additional tests or prescriptions.

    If a person requires medical care and does not have insurance, the following tips may help:

    Mention insurance status beforehand

    Doctors, clinics, and hospitals may offer reduced fees to people who do not have insurance. This is more likely to happen if the person discloses this information before their appointment.

    Shop around

    Fees vary by location. Before a person gets sick, it may be a good idea to contact local hospitals and healthcare centers and ask about their average fees for an appointment.

    This can also be a good way to locate clinics that offer free or sliding-scale services.

    Ask for generic medication

    Generic medication is usually less expensive than branded medication.

    As the

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    explain, “Generic medicines use the same active ingredients as brand-name medicines and work the same way, so they have the same risks and benefits.”

    Ask for a payment plan

    Hospitals and other healthcare centers may offer affordable payment plans to people facing large medical bills.

    Pay in advance, if possible

    Some hospitals and doctors offer reduced rates for people who can pay in advance.

    This may be feasible if the medical issue is planned, such as an elective surgery or a pregnancy.

    It can be difficult to predict how much medical care a person will need. In some cases, having insurance may be more affordable than not having it.

    To check whether someone qualifies for government-sponsored insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a person can search here .

    While health insurance remains inaccessible for many people in the U.S., some medical care is often available for free or at a reduced rate.

    A person may find affordable care in a walk-in clinic or urgent care center. It can also help to ask for generic medication and mention the insurance status before the appointment.

    Overall, doing research is key, as some local clinics and hospitals charge more than others.

    A person might also qualify for government-sponsored insurance via Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act .

    How can I get medical care without insurance in Georgia?
    If you have no insurance, or if your insurance isn't adequate to cover your expenses, some low-cost options can help you. Georgia's Free Clinic Network provides care at no cost or on a sliding fee scale, based on income and family size. more
    How much does it cost to start a home health care business in Georgia?
    To start your home care business, you will need to apply for your home care license in Georgia. This license is referred to as a Private Home Care Provider license. A home care license application with home care policies will need to be compiled and submitted electronically to the State of Georgia with a fee of $500. more
    How much do personal care home owners make in Georgia?
    How much does a Personal Care Home Administrator make in Georgia? As of Jul 16, 2022, the average annual pay for a Personal Care Home Administrator in Georgia is $37,782 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $18.16 an hour. more
    How much does Georgia pay for foster care?
    How much does a Foster Parent make in Georgia? As of Jul 16, 2022, the average annual pay for a Foster Parent in Georgia is $66,728 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $32.08 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,283/week or $5,561/month. more
    Is critical care worse than intensive care?
    There's no difference between intensive care and critical care units. They both specialize in monitoring and treating patients who need 24-hour care. Hospitals with ICUs may or may not have a separate cardiac care unit. more
    What is a personal care home in Georgia?
    A “personal care home” is defined as a residence offering protective care and oversight of a person who needs a watchful environment but does not have an illness, injury or disability requiring chronic or convalescent care, such as medical or nursing services. more
    How do I become a private home care provider in Georgia?
    To start your home care business, you will need to apply for your home care license in Georgia. This license is referred to as a Private Home Care Provider license. A home care license application with home care policies will need to be compiled and submitted electronically to the State of Georgia with a fee of $500. more
    What is personal care in aged care?
    Personal and clinical care and services can include: supervising or helping with bathing, showering, personal hygiene and dressing. providing personal mobility aids and communication assistance for consumers with impaired hearing, sight or speech. nursing services, such as catheter care and wound management. more
    How much does 24 hour home care cost in Georgia?
    Around-the-Clock Home Care: Comparative Costs more
    How do I start a private home care business in Georgia?
    To start your home care business, you will need to apply for your home care license in Georgia. This license is referred to as a Private Home Care Provider license. A home care license application with home care policies will need to be compiled and submitted electronically to the State of Georgia with a fee of $500. more
    What are the critical policy issues related to access to care cost of care and quality of care?
    These six areas of quality improvement include safety, effectiveness, patient centered customer care, timeliness, efficiency and equity (Shi & Singh, 2012). more

    Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

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