Living without health insurance leaves individuals and families at risk for health and financial difficulties. High insurance premiums and loss of jobs are two major reasons that many people go without health insurance. Uninsured people do have options when it comes to covering health care costs. Avoiding health care can lead to more serious health problems, so explore all of your options to ensure you get the health care you need.
Medical procedures come with a high price tag. Even a basic office visit is expensive if you have a limited income. If you are paying in cash because you don't have health insurance, ask the billing department if they will lower the costs. Negotiating over the health care costs can save you a significant amount of money on your total.
Federally-funded health clinics offer an alternative for those without insurance who can't afford to pay for medical treatments. The clinics are available across the country, providing you with access to health care. You pay a fee based on your income for an affordable health care option. The clinics provide preventative care, maternity care, immunizations and treatment for illnesses.
The Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, offers low-cost health care coverage for children in low-income families. The income guidelines for CHIP are higher than Medicaid, allowing more families to qualify. The program is a joint effort between the federal and state governments, with the states setting specific guidelines for the program.
Medicaid is a federal and state joint program that offers health care to low-income individuals who meet specific eligibility requirements. Pregnant women, children and those with disabilities who meet the income guidelines are typically qualified for Medicaid. Each state runs its own Medicaid program, including the eligibility requirements. A retroactive period allows Medicaid coverage to go back three months if you would have qualified in those months.
Purchasing an individual policy is an option for those without a group insurance plan. A temporary health insurance plan offers short-term coverage for major medical expenses. The premium is typically much lower than a regular insurance policy. Health savings accounts, or HSAs, offer another affordable option for those without insurance. The HSA is a good option for protecting yourself from expenses associate with major medical events. Consult with an insurance agent to locate a low-cost health insurance plan that fits your needs.