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.