How to Get Healthcare When You Don’t Have Insurance.

     In a time when the country is divided by the idea of healthcare as a basic human right, many of us are left without health insurance. Whether your employer does not provide health insurance or simply does not pay you enough to afford the company offered policy, you may feel like it’s impossible to get quality healthcare when you don’t have insurance.

     While the situation surrounding lack of healthcare can vary from person to person, everyone still has some options. You can still find healthcare when you don’t have insurance.

Medicaid

   Your first stop when you do not have access to or money for personal private insurance should always be your local Medicaid option. This option is for low income individuals and can provide for adult and child healthcare. Think you won’t qualify? Well it’s free to apply and there are no repercussions that come with a denial.

    In order to apply for Missouri State Medicaid, simply visit the MO Healthnet site and complete the application. Make sure you have the following information when filling out the application:

  • Proof of identity or citizenship
  • Income/ Employment information
  • Bank statements

Decisions are made based on household size and income. If approved, Medicaid will potentially cover most, if not all of your healthcare costs.

Community Health Centers

    So you didn’t qualify for Medicaid? That’s okay. There are famously large discrepancies between what Missouri State says is an income that can afford private insurance, and what income will actually allow you to afford private insurance. You are not alone and there are still options!

    A local community health center may be a good option for you. Community Health Centers are not-for-profit, consumer-directed health care centers. They help provide affordable healthcare options to those who need them. In Springfield, Mo we have the Jordan Valley Community Health Center.

    Jordan Valley offers a large range of affordable services for families and individuals in Springfield and surrounding area:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Dental
  • Medical
  • Pharmacy
  • Nutrition
  • Vision
  • Women’s Health

Jordan Valley also allows for a wide range of payment options including private insurance, Medicaid, cash, debit or credit, and personal checks for the date of the service. They also have the Sliding Fee Program which is a discount schedule based on poverty guidelines. With this program you pay a drastically reduced price for your healthcare services.

   To qualify for the program, you must apply with Jordan Valley and submit all required income information.  For more information about the Sliding Fee Program, please contact Jordan Valley Community Health directly or read more on their site.

Direct Primary Care

    This option may be a new concept to some of you, but Direct Primary Care is quickly becoming a popular option for patients who cannot afford the astronomical cost of private insurance and only need basic healthcare. If you don’t have any extensive pre-existing conditions, this monthly payment option may work best for you.

     Think of Direct Primary Care (DPC) as the gym membership option of healthcare. For a low monthly fee you receive access to a long list of basic care options including:

  • Annual Physical
  • Office Visit
  • Sports Physicals
  • EKG
  • Strep Testing
  • Minor Skin Procedures

    You also receive a hefty discount on some basic lab testing and popular prescription medications like Lipitor, Cipro, Flonase, and Lexapro.  These DPC’s offer pricing options for children and adults, and some even offer discounted monthly packages for couples and families. This is a great option if you are in general good health and are just looking for some help with your basic healthcare needs.

    Springfield boasts two DPC options including Equality Healthcare and Command Family Medicine.

Health Center Payment Assistance

   Maybe the worst has happened. You don’t have health insurance and you already had to visit a hospital or doctor’s office and are now being crushed under the exorbitant price of care. Both Cox Health Centers and Mercy Hospital offer financial assistance options.

   Like Medicaid and the Community Health Center options, this is usually based off financial need and the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If you have outstanding medical bills with either of these facilities make sure to contact their Patient Services departments and ask to speak to someone about financial assistance.

Please Remember! A hospital cannot refuse care for emergency medical conditions to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. So if you are currently having or believe you are having a medical emergency and are avoiding treatment due to inability to pay, PLEASE go to the emergency room or call 911 for medical assistance. You can still get emergency healthcare when you don’t have insurance!

Making it Work Out-of-Pocket

    We have gone through a ton of options for helping you find healthcare when you don’t have insurance. Most readers will have found something new to try and will not have made it this far, but if you are still looking for an option outside of what was listed, you may be looking at the out-of-pocket option.

    For basic primary care, out-of-pocket is usually not as astronomical as you would think. Most general office visits are between $100 and $200 depending on if you are already established with a care provider or not. Where the prices really start to soar are in the labs and proceedures.

     For labs, you are not limited to the labs housed in your doctor’s preferred medical center. There are many lower cost lab options that are just as clean and safe as anything you could find at Mercy or Cox. And many don’t even require physician orders for basic labs. I personally have used Any Lab Test Now located on Independence Street next to Kohl’s. They were extremely kind and professional. The thyroid panel I ordered from them was about half the out of pocket cost of having a similar panel done at Ferrell Duncan’s Lab, and it actually included 2 more lab tests!

    Also, talk to your company’s HR rep about insurance options. You may not be able to afford the full medical coverage, but many employers now offer medical flex spending plans. With these plans you pay a much smaller monthly amount into a pre-tax account that you can later use for medical expenses. The amount of the account and payment are dictated by the provider your employer uses for the benefit. So contact your HR rep if you are considering the out-of-pocket option for healthcare when you don’t have insurance.

Staying Healthy

A good way to help reduce the cost of healthcare when you don’t have insurance is to live an overall healthier life. While there are always going to situations and illnesses that pop up regardless of our lifestyle, it is still important to give your body the best opportunity for health. This can be accomplished with simple changes such as meal prepping healthy foods and finding ways to be more active.

*This post was not written by a medical or financial professional. Information provided is strictly anecdotal. Please contact the companies or organizations mentioned in this post for more information on their services and guidelines.

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