Living Without Health Insurance

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Living Without Health Insurance

According to a survey conducted by the national Census for 2018, over 27.5 million people (8.5% of Americans) reported not having insurance at any part of the year. Living without insurance is an unfortunate reality for many Americans, and the inability to afford healthcare can have dire consequences affecting both people’s health and financial wellbeing.

People can be uninsured for several different reasons. Most people who are working part-time jobs are ineligible for employer-covered healthcare, which means even employees who work two part-time jobs can be left uninsured by their companies. Other people may find their employer’s insurance too expensive and not suitable for their needs, which can be another reason people choose to forego the plans offered to them.

Government assistance like Medicaid is notoriously difficult to qualify for and can vary state by state. Typically, a person must have a very low income as well as young dependents (under the age of 21) to qualify. The application process can also be tedious and limited staff at Medicaid centers can cause delays in the processing of documents.

What are your options if you do not currently have health insurance?

  • Check out gov. This website is the official page for plans offered through the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” as it is commonly known. You can create a free account and plug in information regarding your living situation and current income levels. The site will generate plans you qualify for based on the information you provide.
  • Ask your medical providers about sliding scale fees. Some offices use what is called a sliding scale to determine how much a patient pays. These offices typically ask you to complete some paperwork asking questions about your income levels and household status and offers different payment amounts depending on your answers.
  • Inquire about payment plans. Ask your provider whether payment plans are available. While payment plans do not necessarily mean you are getting a discount on services, you may be able to request making staggered payments over a longer period of time, rather than paying a large bill up front. A payment plan can help give you extra time to pay off a debt to providers.

The fear of healthcare bills means uninsured people may choose to not visit a provider for fear of cost. While it can be tempting to assume conditions will heal on their own, when a health problem does not dissipate with time, it is important that you have a professional examine you. Keep in mind that while waiting to see a doctor can save you money in the short term, an unchecked health condition can end up being much more expensive in the long run if you begin to have more progressed complications from it.

Remember to inquire about health insurance options during your next job interview, and consider benefits like insurance when comparing job offers. One job may offer a higher salary but no insurance, while another may offer a slightly lower salary but great healthcare benefits. When in doubt, ask around and compare plans, and make every effort to care for your health needs.

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