Monday, April 22, 2013

Finding Healthcare without Insurance

I often hear how healthcare is so expensive when someone doesn't have health insurance.  This doesn't necessarily have to be true.  Through associations with the federal government, there ARE places someone can go to if they don't have health insurance (or are 'under insured').  In 1965 a group of centers were formed known as 'Community Health Centers'.  What started as a small group has become one of the largest groups of health care providers in the country providing services to millions of people throughout the country.  Over 1,200 centers serving 20 million people!  So, why don't more people know about these places?  It's a little know secret as I say!  They aren't 'advertised' as advertising is expensive.  Word of mouth is the best advertising.  And since these places run on grants (and not just federal but outside sources as well), intake from what insurance income they receive and the minute amount of 'sliding fee' income they receive from patients, advertising funds just aren't there.  How do I know about these places?  I work for one and have for many years!

You can search for one of these places by going to the HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) search page here: Find a Health Center.  Just enter your zip code and it will find locations near you.  To utilize their services you usually have to provide proof of income (2 pay stubs or a print-out of your tax return or something from unemployment or social security, etc), list the number of people in your home, etc.  They often have programs as well to help you with medications that can connect you with 'Prescription Assistance Programs'.

In the area I live, we even have a program in our county that helps with 'tests and scans' so that we can assure that people are cared for.  Most communities likely have similar programs.  So, if you need to be frugal, or are forced to do so with your healthcare; find a community health center near you!!

However, not everyone will qualify to receive the 'sliding fee' scale.  It is based on the poverty level and number of individuals in your family.  To find out if you qualify under the poverty level, you can check here:  US Poverty Thresholds.  To qualify, you have to be under 200 percent of this level.  This means you multiple the level for the number of your family members by 2 of that income level.  So, if it is $23,550 for a family of four, your income would need to be $47,100 and below.   These centers also accept just about every insurance there is that most other offices won't accept including Medicare, Medicaid (including all the HMO programs), Tricare, and more.

If you need someplace to go, this could be your answer!  Many providers are the most caring and giving individuals I have ever met!  Have a great night!

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