Are you currently without healthcare insurance and concerned about your health? Fearful of potential high medical costs, some people will delay seeing a doctor or other healthcare professional. A once simple and highly treatable health condition can then tragically advance into something far more serious.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Good options exist!
The truth is that doctors and hospitals would much prefer to find ways to help people find affordable healthcare long before something serious develops.
Higher personal energy during the day, better sleep, and generally good health are often among the benefits of adopting a lifestyle that includes taking care of yourself. A regular checkup or seeing a health professional when symptoms first appear can resolve many potential problems – including crippling, life-threatening issues – that could appear later.
Hospital administrators know that when a patient presenting advanced symptoms of pain, trauma, or even life-threatening conditions shows up in an emergency room, it will likely be a much more challenging situation to resolve.
Federal and state laws require hospitals and doctors to treat patients and provide stabilizing treatment to people without insurance. But simply showing up in an emergency room is not the best way to resolve an issue.
Of course, securing commercial healthcare insurance through your employer, researching and purchasing healthcare at the federal website (https://healthcare.gov) during the signup period (now through December 15) or availing oneself of healthcare services available through Medicare or Medicaid are definitely preferred to not having traditional healthcare insurance.
But for a variety of reasons, sometimes finding and securing commercial healthcare may be perceived as a potential option. Unemployment issues, extra expenses incurred during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or unexpected family issues can sap needed funds for healthcare premiums. Confusion about plans or anxiety about costs can lead to delays.
The good news is that many options exist for people who are concerned about potential high costs of medical services. Finding healthcare coverage should not be a stressful experience, and many options exist to help families. Financial subsidies are available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), especially for those facing financial issues or who live at or below the federally defined poverty level.
In fact, in 2020, nearly 90% of the 10.7 million people who purchase health insurance through the federal government marketplace received money-saving subsidies to help pay for insurance premiums. Insurance premiums through options like this can be at a small fraction of typical premiums and pay for all sorts of standard healthcare – family healthcare services, OB pregnancy services, dental work, vaccines, behavioral health, and more.
Still, even applying for subsidies or securing healthcare coverage can be confusing. For some, plowing through paperwork or online options can just raise anxiety levels or create more confusion.
Thankfully, most hospitals and clinics – such as the Southern Indiana Community Health Care clinic where I work – provides free help through a certified insurance navigator. These professionals are called navigators because that’s exactly what they do – they help people navigate through potentially confusing insurance and coverage options to help find the best affordable coverage available. Many people in our southern Indiana area find good coverage through special programs offered by the Healthy Indiana Plan, Hoosier Healthwise or Medicaid. An insurance navigator can help you find and apply for coverage like this.
Still concerned about one’s ability to pay? Many physicians and clinics offer special discounts and payment plans. To find out specific options available in southern Indiana, you can visit the SICHC webpage at https://sichc.org/payment-options/ to review area programs. This includes the Community Health Assistance Program (CHAP) that offers a sliding fee schedule.
The bottom line? Many options exist to help you get good coverage. Don’t wait until a simple condition gets bad – go online or call your local providers for useful information about affordable coverage.