What to Do if You Don't Have Health Insurance

It's pretty much a necessity these days for everyone to have health insurance. This is because the costs of medical care and services has skyrocketed to ridiculously high charges. Nevertheless, millions of Americans still don't have health insurance for themselves. There's a number of reasons as to why, such as the fact that not all employers offer health insurance, and for those that do, they usually only offer it to full-time employees, not part-time, or seasonal ones. But the main reason why so many people are without medical insurance is the cold hard fact that the insurance itself, like the medical services without it, costs a lot and your average person just can't afford it. Insurance companies aren't exactly sympathetic to their issues, because they continue to raise premiums on their customers at an alarming rate. So what should a person do if they don't have health insurance and are too young for medicare or medicaid? Well there's only a few options and most are not as good as being insured, but in case you're curious, here's some of those options that one can take.

Find a Job With Benefits
This is probably the most obvious solution to having no insurance and it probably doesn't even need to be mentioned. But still, there's many people who work jobs without benefits or health insurance and they think that's the norm and they assume most companies are the same. If you're place of employment doesn't offer benefits to full-time employees, then you need to realize that they are the minority, the rarity, the exception. This is more common with small companies, because most large or corporate-run companies offer a benefits package to full time employees, which usually includes at least a basic health care package. So try looking for corporate-owned companies that are well-known and have a large chain of stores across the country. These are usually the types of jobs that offer great benefits, including medical coverage.

Buy Your Own
If your present employer doesn't offer any medical benefits, there's nothing stopping you from purchasing your own, assuming you can afford it. The reason why it's so affordable through an employer instead of your own, is because they will often get reduced rates from the insurance companies, since they sign-up hundreds or thousands of employees. This is referred to as a group rate, and it's not uncommon for an employer to pick up some of the tab and pay half, or at least a fraction of the cost themselves to make it cheaper for their workers. But sometimes, the jobs that don't offer insurance or benefits pay more per hour than those that do. For example, a Walmart employee may have a great benefits package, but they typically don't make much money per hour when compared to many higher-paying jobs that don't offer any type of benefits. So in this particular situation, you should calculate everything to see if the higher hourly wage makes up for not having benefits. If you can use the extra money from the higher wage job to buy your own health insurance, and if after that you're still making more than the lower wage job, then that's acceptable and makes sense. But if you do purchase your own, my advice is to stay away from deals that sound too good to be true. The insurance market is filled with scammers, just like you'd expect in any trillion dollar industry. I once purchased temporary insurance from a company called Assurant, through eHealthInsurance.com, and they denied me coverage, even after I had paid the deductible and my monthly premiums on time. I then read on various websites online that Assurant is known for doing this from time to time because they've had many similar complaints and reviews from angry customers. So do your research first and try to stick with only reputable and well-known companies.

Low Income Plans
If you can't afford your own insurance, then it's very likely that you may be a low-income individual or part of a low income family. In a number of counties and states, there are medical programs for low-income or homeless people. The main downside of these types of programs is the wait time between appointments. For a visit to a regular GP doctor, you could end up waiting weeks and possibly up to a month. For visits to specialists, such as a dermatologist, this can often take months (usually around 1 to 2 months). But regardless, these programs can still be very helpful to those that normally have to pay out of pocket. The best ways to find these types of programs is to search the internet for your city or county, check your local social services department, or call the billing department of all local hospitals. These low-income plans are very common for hospitals to implement in their emergency rooms as well. For example, most hospitals will want you to talk to a person in their billing department before you leave if you've been seen in the emergency room or Urgent Care department. This is because they will often ask you how much money you make each month and if you qualify, they may allow you to enroll in a low-income plan to reduce or completely erase your bills or debt. Many people aren't aware of this, and they leave the hospital without speaking to a financial counselor first. Because of this mistake, they often end up getting billed thousands of dollars for services that may have been free or as low as $10. So if you ever visit a hospital, always speak to the financial counselor in the billing department before you leave.

Medical Tourism
Medical tourism is when a person travels to a different country to have a medical procedure done because it's cheaper than in their home country. It's become very popular in the past 10 years and many people are realizing how much money they can save by doing this. For a person without insurance, a surgical operation that costs $50,000 in the United States could end up costing as low as $10,000 in India or Thailand. The plane ticket in this case would be well worth the price if you were to save that much money. But as with anything, you should really do a lot of research on both the country and the medical establishment or doctor you're thinking about visiting. India has gained a strong reputation for it's medical tourism, while many countries in South America have gained poor reputations due to horror stories from former medical tourists and foreign patients. But again, it all depends on the particular doctor, clinic, or hospital you visit.

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