Yes, it is. Health insurance is not a requirement for receiving medical care in the United States. The purpose of health insurance is to make handling medical expenses easier, not to filter who is eligible for health care. It is possible to go to the hospital for free or at reduced costs in the U.S. if you don’t have health insurance to cover these costs.
It is a pity that despite the government’s efforts to make health insurance easily affordable to the general public, the cost of insurance has remained relatively high.
One of such efforts is the Affordable Care Act, also called the Obama Care Act, and while it was successful to a large extent, there is still more work to be done.
It is possible to enjoy low-cost and sometimes free health care in the U.S. if you don’t have insurance, and we suggested some ways to do so in the next section.
Where To Get Medical Care Without Insurance
You may be confused seeing this option here. Isn’t Medicaid an insurance provider? The same insurance that I can’t afford? But hear us out.
Medicaid is a form of public health insurance, and anyone who is a U.S. citizen within a certain income level is eligible for Medicaid. The coverage you’d get depends on the state you’re resident in. To find out what coverage applies to you, check Medicaid’s website.
Charity care is a state service that offers medical services to people at reduced costs or free. In some states, you may have to apply to receive charity care, and in other states, there is an automatic screening for who is eligible.
Usually, they consider factors like financial status, health status, etc. To learn more about charity care in your state, you can reach out to local hospital social workers or check online resources.
Community Health Care
Community health centers are nonprofit organizations, so they likely offer some free services, especially those without insurance.
Should they charge you, it will be on a sliding scale. This means that they will charge you based on your ability to pay. Note that community health centers don’t provide all kinds of services, but they usually offer the following:
1. Prenatal care
3. Family planning
4. Basic medical care
5. Preventive care, etc.
Walk-in And Urgent Care Center
The best thing about walk-in clinics and urgent care centers is that you don’t need an appointment to go there.
Urgent care centers are an affordable alternative to emergency care units, so we advise you to visit here or a walk-in clinic if your situation isn’t an emergency.
These places offer free or low-cost services for customers who don’t have health insurance. We’d advise you to contact the urgent care center or walk-in clinic you intend to visit to learn about their fees and payment options ahead of time.
Emergency care rooms or E.R. units don’t have the right to deny you medical care if your situation is categorized as an emergency. This is applicable whether you have insurance or not, but this doesn’t mean they won’t charge you.
Emergency rooms are more expensive than urgent care centers and other health centers, so it is a good idea to think about whether your condition warrants a visit to the E.R.
Why Do People Lack Health Insurance?
A study conducted by the NCHS in 2019 revealed that 14.5% of adults aged 18 – 64 did not have medical insurance. The most common reason they had for lack of medical insurance was that the coverage was not affordable.
It’s a shame that despite efforts to make health insurance more affordable with initiatives like the Obama Care Act and government-sponsored health insurance (Medicaid), many individuals still can’t afford it.
Another thing seen in the study was the number of people who could not afford healthcare insurance increased as the ages got older.
This is a common phenomenon in the insurance industry. We notice that individuals are advised to get health insurance when they are young and less likely to need it to take advantage of the low premium costs of getting insurance at a young age.
We also see how culture and ethnicity affect your chances of purchasing health insurance from the study. For example, the study revealed that Hispanic adults were more likely to get turned down for health insurance than their non-Hispanic (white) counterparts based on eligibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can A Hospital Deny You Care If You Don’t Have Insurance?
No, they cannot. Doctors and other health care providers retain the right to deny you healthcare for multiple reasons. However, insurance isn’t one of them, especially if you are in an emergency or dealing with a life-threatening ailment.
How Do Hospitals Attend To Uninsured Patients?
Health insurance is just a convenient way to pay for your medical bills; not having one is not a reason to be denied health care. Hospitals have various methods to attend to patients without health insurance; this could be paying cash, writing a cheque, making advanced payments, etc.
Where Can I Enjoy Free/low-cost Healthcare In The U.S.?
Several places offer health care at reduced costs for individuals without health insurance. Sometimes these services are even free.
Such places are walk-in clinics, urgent care centers, community health centers, and charity care centers.
Individuals need to have health insurance as it lessens the cost of their financial burdens caused by medical expenses. The issue is that not everyone can afford it, so what do they do?
This article suggested a few ways individuals without health insurance could still enjoy medical care at reduced care and even for free.
You can also make findings to see if you qualify for government-sponsored insurance like Medicaid and the Obama Care Act.
Medical Care without Insurance: Tips & Suggestions
Reasons for Being Uninsured Among Adults Aged 18 – 64 in the US