What Are Your Options If You Don’t Have Insurance

I don’t have health insurance, now what?

According to the Henry Kaiser Foundation, by the end of 2016 the number of uninsured nonelderly Americans was 28 million. Under the current administration the number of uninsured has risen to a three year high. While the Obama Administration made strides under ACA with a public health insurance plan, many of the uninsured population in the United States lacked health insurance due to the high cost of health coverage. Many Americans are lucky enough to have health coverage, but many Americans lack health insurance for a variety of reasons. Some people may not have health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, while others may be uninsured due to an accident or recent job loss. Luckily you do not have to sacrifice your health due to being uninsured. Here are ten options to consider if you don’t have insurance:

  1. Have an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses The first source is always YOU. Having money saved will go a long way if you are uninsured. Depending on the services or products you need, sometimes you may be required to pay the costs in full or at least a percentage. You will have some peace of mind if you have your own money set aside.

  2. Ask for uninsured discounts When you are receiving medical services or products, most times they will give you a discount if you pay in cash or by check.

  3. Ask for a payment plan Some medical offices, especially if you are a regular customer, will allow you to start a payment plan. They will provide you with the services you need now and allow you to spread the cost over the next few weeks or months. You may be required to pay at least five to ten percent of the total balance when services are rendered.

  4. Use Groupon Most times you will find that a dental office, medical office, massage therapist, or chiropractor will offer affordable deals that you may not receive elsewhere.

  5. Ask for new customer prices Most times you can get services and products for free or receive a large discount as a new customer. Sometimes those deals may not be offered or advertised.

  6. Contact local Dental Schools If the work you need is not very serious or complicated, you will find that utilizing the services provided at dental schools are much cheaper. If they are unable to do the work you need, they may have a connection with a company who can provide you with the service at an affordable price.

  7. Ask friends and Family You would be surprised who the people in your life are connected to. Someone always knows someone, who knows someone else. Someone may know of a company who could provide services at a low cost. Everyone loves referrals.

  8. Contact local churches, community centers, and nonprofit organizations They may have connections with local companies or programs that can provide products and services for those who are uninsured and unable to cover the cost themselves.

  9. Try an Urgent Care before the Hospital Emergency Room Unless you have a serious life threatening issue, I would suggest getting services from a local Urgent Care. The emergency room can sometimes have longer wait times and are more expensive.

If you or someone you know is uninsured, these tips will provide a head start with navigating through the experience. Although the results may vary depending on your location and situation, I can guarantee that at least one if not all of these tips will be helpful for someone who is uninsured. The big take away is start with having money saved and be proactive with asking anyone and everyone questions about discounts and other affordable options in your area.

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3 Tips To Help You Survive and Prepare For Personal Financial Disasters

Personal Finance Tips

Back in 2007 when I graduated from college our country was facing an economic depression. I was laid off form my first 3 jobs out of college. Government officials were denying it and bickering over whether it was real or not, but if you were one of the estimated 2.6 million individuals who lost their job it was very real to you.

It seems that our economy is on the rebound for the most part, but, what about personal financial disasters? Just because the country isn’t experiencing one doesn’t mean that your finances and household are safe. Divorce, job loss, natural disasters, and illness are events that can throw a wrench in even a solid financial situation.

Portions of this post originally appeared in Madame Noire.

Here are 3 Tips to Survive a Financial Disaster

1)   Communicate: Many people do not realize how flexible and accommodating companies can be, especially if you have had great payment history. Reach out to your creditors, explain your situation, and find out if they have a hardship program that you would qualify for. During my job transition last year my credit card company waived the interest charges.

2)    Downsize your life: Contact utility companies and find out if you can reduce your cost by taking advantage of promotions or downgrading your package.  Do you really need the triple play package? Do you really need cable?  Eliminate unnecessary bills and reduce your spending to needs not wants. Sorry to tell you but weekly manicures and dry cleaning services are not needs.

3)    Assess your current fiscal responsibilities: Create a plan to manage your finances. Now that you have reduced your spending create a real plan that will sustain you during this disaster. Determine whether your going to pay down debt during this time or just pay on your debts. Determine if you can afford to put money aside for savings and investing.

No one likes to be caught off guard. Once you make it through a financial disaster try these things to prepare yourself for the next unexpected occurrence

 3 Tips to Prepare for Financial Disaster

1)    Financial Disaster Fund: Calculate how much you life costs you including all of your needs and save at least 3x’s amount. This account is for emergencies so once you reach the goal amount set up another savings account so that you don’t dip into this one.

2)    Get on a Budget: Control your spending. You don’t have to live like you are experiencing a disaster, but be conscious of your spending and question each purchase.  This will help you save more and will soften the lifestyle blow should a financial disaster occur. Do you have to have a “girls” night out twice a week or  can you host a girls night in potluck? If you want to eat out try substituting expensive dinners for happy hour deals (one of my favorites in NYC is $2 taco Tuesdays)

3)    Diversify Your Income Streams: Get resourceful and tap into your creative abilities. Create side hustles so that your survival does not depend on an employer. It could remain a side hustle or it could turn into a full-fledged business. You’d be surprised at the ways people are creatively funding their lives. Having difficulty figuring out your side hustles? Check out my girl over at Dear Debt Blog, I thinks she’s a master side hustler.

Have you experienced a financial disaster? How did you cope? Have you taken the steps to prepare yourself for the next financial disaster?

Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.

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