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#ActualKhaiy

Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:57 PM

I work in insurance at a hospital. At its most basic, not having health insurance means that you are massively exposed to financial risk. It is true that emergency rooms are obligated to treat you, but only to the point of stabilization, meaning that once you're physically capable of surviving without immediate medical intervention the ER has no further legal responsibility to assist you in any way. Further, you are legally obligated to pay for any services you receive (both in the ER and as an inpatient if you are admitted). But you should avoid relying on the ER as much as is feasiible, as the ER is by far the most expensive way to access medical services.

You will lose access to any insurer's negotiated rates, meaning that you will be billed the full amount for any services you receive. All medical facilities have some form of uncompensated care funding whcih can defray some of the expense for you, but the procedures for accessing such funding varies from place to place and the degree of assistance is impossible to predict.

You will likely need to pay upfront for any non-emergency care you access. You should ask how much money you will be asked to pay when you schedule any appointment as you may be turned away if you don't pay when you present for an appointment.

You may be eligible to continue with your previous coverage through COBRA if your insurance ended because you left the employer who provided it. If that is the case, contact your former employer to start the COBRA process.

You can shop around for individual insuance policies from insurance companies, but they tend to be expensive and have a ton of variation in what sort of coverage you will get.

Many areas have sliding fee clinics where you can access routine care at variable prices based on your ability to pay. I strongly suggest trying such a clinic if you have any health concerns (other than in an emergency). If you need care urgently, many areas have urgent care clinics which tend to be far less expensive the ERs. In a true emergency, don't hesitate to go to an emergency room.

EDIT:

As for Medicaid, your options vary wildly depending on what state you live in. Adults without children rarely have access to Medicaid-- there are only a couple of states where it's available, and tends to be heavily restricted. And even then, eligibility criteria vary quite a bit in terms of what the state looks at. Count on income mattering a lot; assets tend to matter as well, though with lots of caveats.

What state are you in?

#1Khaiy

Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:54 PM

I work in insurance at a hospital. At its most basic, not having health insurance means that you are massively exposed to financial risk. It is true that emergency rooms are obligated to treat you, but only to the point of stabilization, meaning that once you're physically capable of surviving without immediate medical intervention the ER has no further legal responsibility to assist you in any way. Further, you are legally obligated to pay for any services you receive (both in the ER and as an inpatient if you are admitted). But you should avoid relying on the ER as much as is feasiible, as the ER is by far the most expensive way to access medical services.

You will lose access to any insurer's negotiated rates, meaning that you will be billed the full amount for any services you receive. All medical facilities have some form of uncompensated care funding whcih can defray some of the expense for you, but the procedures for accessing such funding varies from place to place and the degree of assistance is impossible to predict.

You will likely need to pay upfront for any non-emergency care you access. You should ask how much money you will be asked to pay when you schedule any appointment as you may be turned away if you don't pay when you present for an appointment.

You may be eligible to continue with your previous coverage through COBRA if your insurance ended because you left the employer who provided it. If that is the case, contact your former employer to start the COBRA process.

You can shop around for individual insuance policies from insurance companies, but they tend to be expensive and have a ton of variation in what sort of coverage you will get.

Many areas have sliding fee clinics where you can access routine care at variable prices based on your ability to pay. I strongly suggest trying such a clinic if you have any health concerns (other than in an emergency). If you need care urgently, many areas have urgent care clinics which tend to be far less expensive the ERs. In a true emergency, don't hesitate to go to an emergency room.

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