Where Can I Go for Medical Care Without Insurance? – Overview
When you get sick, you need to make an appointment with the doctor. Sound simple, right? However, most people in the US who are without insurance or underinsured find it very difficult.
The US healthcare system can be quite expensive for those without insurance. So, you ask yourself, where can I go for medical care without insurance?
Fortunately, there are several options open for you in such circumstances. Still, these options could vary according to where you live, the kind of treatment you require, and several other factors.
How to Get a Doctor’s Appointment Without Insurance?
Firstly, you should never delay going to a doctor because of the fee and other charges. It could result in loss of health and even worse.
Even if you don’t have medical insurance, you can still visit a doctor and get the required medical treatment.
The aim is to find medical services that are affordable. The best places to seek affordable medical care are community clinics, direct care providers, and walk-in clinics.
Let’s check and see how you can seek medical treatment at an affordable cost in different places:
Community Health Centers
Community health centers, or clinics, are most likely available in your area. These are usually low-cost and even offer some free healthcare services.
These clinics prove vital in providing essential medical care for people, such as vaccinations, preventive screening, etc.
These services are provided at community health clinics without the prerequisite insurance.
Most community health clinics also allow patients to pay the expenses on a “sliding scale” based on their income.
Some health clinics in the community also offer several healthcare-related services completely free of cost.
Walk-in clinics offer treatments for more regular health issues. These clinics also accept payment in cash in case you don’t have insurance cover.
You can go to a walk-in clinic and visit the doctor for minor health problems.
You will only be billed for that particular visit. Still, not all walk-in clinics would offer affordable medical services.
So, make sure to request the cost of a doctor’s visit at a walk-in clinic beforehand. Some of these walk-in clinics offer affordable and low-cost medical services.
Still, some of these clinics may even help you to apply for a low-cost or free health insurance program, such as Medicaid.
Direct Care Providers
Direct care providers are also a good option for a health checkup and treatment if you don’t have medical insurance. However, you may have to pay a nominal fee.
There are several such clinics that offer healthcare services to the uninsured, which are known as cash-only clinics or concierge clinics. It is advisable to search for a doctor that you like and also fits within your budget.
Hospital Emergency Room
Hospital emergency room services are required in case of immediate medical emergencies.
Usually, hospitals do not decline medical care for critically injured or ill patients, even if they are uninsured.
Simply let the staff know that you do not have a medical insurance policy and they may be able to arrange an alternate, affordable payment system for you.
They may even assist you in applying for Medicaid or other affordable health insurance programs.
Still, you need to remember that emergency medical care is the most expensive type of healthcare service.
You should only use it in case of an emergency to avoid incurring expensive bills. In non-emergency cases, it is advisable to seek urgent care, instead of emergency care.
Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care centers offer emergency and other time-sensitive medical services. They often take direct payment from the patient, instead of getting reimbursed by the insurance carrier.
These centers are often the more affordable option when compared to hospital emergency room services.
These are similar to walk-in clinics but for more serious medical problems, such as sprains, broken bones, and wounds that require stitches.
How much does medical care cost without insurance?
Getting medical care can be quite costly if you are uninsured in the US. It is also quite difficult to estimate the exact cost of receiving medical treatment or going to a doctor’s visit without insurance.
The reason is that the cost varies according to the medical issue you have, the type of healthcare provider, and your state of residence.
According to www.debt.org, a doctor’s visit can cost anywhere between US$ 70 and US$ 250 and this number can rise if you require additional testing and are prescribed medication.
The cost can often be prohibitive if you need emergency medical care without health insurance.
This cost gets even higher when you add the expense of blood work, testing, ambulance rides, etc.
The average cost of diagnostic tests also varies according to your state and the healthcare provider. On average, a blood count lab test can cost anywhere between US$ 15 and US$ 100.
A chest X-ray scan can cost between US$ 40 and US$ 250. A fetal ultrasound can cost between US$ 89 and US$ 480.
Hence, you can see why it is difficult to give a precise estimate for the cost of a doctor’s visit without insurance coverage.
The specific amount for healthcare services also depends on the kind of healthcare provider you are seeking treatment from.
Some clinics can give significant discounts. Some clinics allow patients to pay on a sliding scale system, according to their income.
Community clinics are often cheaper than a direct care providers, whereas urgent care clinics can be less expensive than emergency rooms at hospitals.
Before visiting a doctor’s clinic, you should do a bit of research, compare the prices of different doctors and decide which would be the cheapest place to get the medical care you need.
It is important to remember that there are millions of Americans, adults, and kids, who are without adequate health insurance.
However, many of these people are eligible for one or more state-sponsored health insurance programs. Feel free to find out if you can get affordable health insurance by visiting www.healthcare.gov.