By Aurora Almendral at The Billfold. Brief summary:
- Doctors aren’t just for the insured. You don’t have to have health insurance to get health care. You can pay with cash. Other options are community health clinics with sliding scales for people without health insurance, and applying for Medicaid. Go to an urgent care clinic or a walk-in clinic for things like broken bones and non-life threatening illnesses, and save ER trips for true emergencies. If the clinic can’t handle what you’ve brought, they’ll send you to the ER anyway.
- Always ask for a discount the moment you hand over your debit card. The doctor’s office probably won’t give you a discount unless you outright ask for one, even if they know you’re uninsured. The author has gotten around 20% off before.
- Blood tests also offer discounts! ”These days, I still have blood tests every six weeks, but my doctor gives me a form to fill out called the “Patient Financial Assistance Application,” which I send to Quest Diagnostics, a testing company. I declare my income, and depending on how much I’m making with my footloose and fancy-free freelance job(s), I fall into either the 50 percent off bracket, or the 75 percent off bracket. Instead of paying around $400 every six weeks, I pay around $100.”
- Drugs can be really cheap. Look for the generic version.
- Medical tourism. Yeah, it sounds sketchy, but so does being sick forever. The author’s cousin was a doctor in the Philippines, and quoted test prices at about half a percentage of the cost in the States. Not half the cost - 0.5% of the cost. Together with the price of a ticket, doctors fees, and a trip to the beach, they still spent hundreds less than they would have. Get the information you need from your doctor here, do your research, and it could be possible to get the health care you need in another country.
Always look around for free clinics and Planned Parenthoods in your area. As far as sexual health goes, also look for free testing clinics. Also, even though many people (myself included) don’t like walmart, they have a $4-$5 list of generic versions of medication so always ask if a version of your prescribed medication is on the list.