For many decades healthcare access and affordability have been a long-standing issue. Even with Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid, and a slew of health insurance companies, there are still millions of people who cannot afford life-saving, routine healthcare services.
Many individuals fall into two categories: uninsured and underinsured. Individuals employed by companies that do not offer health care and cannot the cost of coverage are considered uninsured.
Underinsured individuals may include those who have health insurance but pay high out of pocket costs for items not included by their policy. Whichever group you might fall into, you can still receive the necessary medical care you need to help you live a healthier, successful life.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE CENTERS
One of the first options for low-cost health care services should be your local community health center. These not-for-profit organizations are the largest providers for medical care for low-income and uninsured individuals.
No one gets turned away because of the inability to pay. Instead, your income is taken into consideration and a sliding scale fee is given. Community health centers offer many services that include:
- Primary care
- Referrals for mental health, substance abuse, and other specialized care
- Prenatal care
- Dental care
Not sure where a community health center is near you? Go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services health center locator at www.findahelthcenter.hrsa.gov
Another option for health care that will not put a strain on your finances is the Hill-Burton program. This sixty-year-old program gives hospitals and other healthcare facilities federal funds, in exchange, for providing free or reduced-cost services. However, some of the participating hospitals have their own eligibility standards so the terms can vary. Also, once the specific amount of free or reduced-cost healthcare is reached, the hospital can choose to deny any other possible participants. To apply for admission, contact a Hill-Burton facility in your area.
A list of these facilities can be found at www.hrsa.gov/hillburton/hillburtonfacilities.htm.
To increase your chances of being approved for this program, you must meet the following criteria:
- You need to be living in the United States for at least the past three months
- Not covered by any existing health insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid
If the sea of pink everywhere did not clue you in, October is Breast Cancer awareness month. If you have a family history of breast cancer or if any other breast cancer risk factors are relevant for you, you should talk to your doctor about your breast health or visit.
Do not let lack of insurance or extra cash stop you from staying on top of your health. Screening saves lives and there are health care facilities that offer this screening for free or at a super-low cost.
- The National Breast and Cervical Cancer program, founded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, offers free or low-cost mammograms to those who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover this screening. To qualify, you also must be between the ages of forty and sixty-four. Find out more about the program in your state.
- Susan G. Komen has Affiliates in cities across the United States that provide free, professional support services to anyone with breast cancer questions or concerns, including people diagnosed with breast cancer and their families. For more information on locations in your area, call 1-877-GO-KOMEN.
- The YWCA in your neck of the woods is also an option if you are currently uninsured or strapped for cash. Certain chapters offer mammograms and breast health education for free. Contact your local YWCA for details.
Feeling good and looking good should be available to all regardless of socioeconomic status or circumstances. Regular physicals and important exams play a key role in staying healthy.
If you have postponed seeing your doctor because you thought you could not afford to, now is your opportunity to utilize the resources available to you.
Written by My Fab Finance Contributor, Candice Davie