There is no penalty for not having health insurance. The tax penalty of being uninsured had been removed long ago at the federal level.
There are benefits to being insured. One of them is that you’ll be protected from high medical costs. You’ll also get preventive care, checkups, and screening for free, even before you’re able to meet your deductible.
However, not everyone has the financial capacity for private insurance. It involves a large monthly payment. Not having health insurance doesn’t mean you can’t receive medical treatment. The only difference is you have to pay your medical bills out of pocket.
Knowing some of your medical costs beforehand can help you plan your budget and make more informed decisions.
So, how much does a doctor visit cost without insurance?
You should expect to pay $28 to $250 if you’re visiting a doctor without health insurance. A tetanus shot alone cost $28, in some hospitals.
Health care costs also increase when you factor in additional prescription or a lab test. And you might be requested to conduct one or more laboratory tests, leading to higher medical expenses.
If you’re also in need of emergency care, you can expect to pay more than the above amount. The costs of diverse illnesses and accidents increase when you add billable items like ambulance ride, x-rays, and blood tests.
Continue reading to know more about this topic!
Visiting A Doctor Without Health Insurance: How You Cut Cost And Can Save Money
Everyone deserves quality healthcare. It’s just unfortunate that many individuals cannot afford it. Health insurance isn’t compulsory. But if you have the means, you shouldn’t hesitate to sign up for it.
Medical bills for uninsured individuals are sometimes overwhelming. But that should not deprive you of the needed medical attention. Failure to treat an underlying medical condition can be fatal over time. It might get worse and require more money for treatment.
Below are ways you can reduce medical costs and save money without health insurance. By the way, you won’t have to deprive yourself of the needed medical attention.
1. Don’t be shy to state your status:
Don’t act shy when you visit a healthcare center. Let them know you’re uninsured and ask if there’re discounts available for people in your category.
You’ll be surprised at how much getting such discounts can lower your medical costs. However, if the healthcare provider you visited doesn’t provide discounts, try to visit other places.
You can also ask friends, family, or whoever you think might know about healthcare centers offering such benefits.
2. Visit community healthcare centers:
This might not be possible if you leave far away. But if you’re close by, endeavor to check community healthcare centers for medical care and enjoy affordable health care.
If you’re lucky enough, you might get free care or pay much lower medical bills, in most cases.
3. Compare the costs of various clinics:
Don’t make an appointment with any doctor, unless you’re sure how much the visit will cost you. You should also have in mind that hospitals in different locations might charge differently.
So, try to shop around before arranging a doctor’s visit. You can call the clinic and inquire about the cost of a visit. Then compare the prices of all your options to know which is more budget-friendly before making a move.
4. Check your medical bill multiple times:
Don’t just pay what’s written on the invoice. Double-check to see if there is an error or ask questions if you’re not clear on certain items added to your invoice.
Errors can occur at any time or by anyone. So ensure you’re paying the correct amount, not an inflated bill.
You can also call to negotiate with your healthcare provider to lower your medical bill. You’ll save a couple of dollars if they can agree to your demands.
5. Request for the generic version of drugs:
Brand name drugs are expensive. They’re one of the factors that increase one’s total medical bills. Therefore, if you’re asked to buy brand name drugs, request their generic versions. Generic medicines are much cheaper and will lower your overall medical costs.
The FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) requires generic drugs to have the same quality and performance as their brand name counterparts. A generic drug must meet the set standards to secure approval.
Generic drugs may look slightly different from the brand name drugs, but they’re all functioning the same way.
Generic drug manufacturers can sell their drugs cheaper due to several reasons. One is that they don’t spend massively on advertisements like the brand name drug makers do.
So, the significant difference between generic and brand name drugs is the cost. The latter is always more expensive.
The point here is that you’ll still receive the right treatment for your condition if you take generic drugs instead of the brand. So don’t feel that you’re cutting corners and depriving yourself of the needed medical treatment.
6. Know your Medicaid eligibility status:
Medicaid is a program available to all US citizens. But there are specific criteria you must meet to qualify for this program. A joint state and federal care program, Medicaid is set up to assist eligible citizens with medical bills and is available to low income individuals.
Medicaid offers US citizens other benefits not covered by Medicare. These include personal care, home care, and nursing services.
Again, Medicaid’s health coverage is for citizens in all the states. But it’s available for a select group of people. These include low-income earners, pregnant women, children, families, and the elderly, including individuals with disabilities.
In most states, Medicaid is offered to every low-income adult that are below a specific income level.
Check if you qualify for Medicaid and take advantage of it if you do. You’ll receive free healthcare services or pay lower medical bills. Older Americans, on the other hand, depend on Medicare.
7. Request for a suitable payment plan:
If your medical bills are too large for you to clear up in one payment, don’t stay quiet. Let the hospital management know you can’t afford one payment and request a favorable payment plan.
Many health care service providers, including dentists, physicians, and hospitals, can help create a payment plan for your medical bills. It’s among the most popular and simplest ways to resolve medical bills that patients or their family members cannot afford in a single payment.
What happens is that the medical bill will be broken down into equal payments, and you’re given a chance to complete payment in a couple of months.
Note – Be sure to inquire about the billing charges or associated fees of the proposed payment plan to assess the affordability and make an informed decision. If the charges are too high, you can explore other ways to lower your medical bills.
8. Choose budget-friendly facilities for your lab tests:
Laboratory tests are a necessity. Without them, doctors can’t decipher what’s wrong with patients or prescribe the right medications.
On the other hand, lab tests can be expensive. So it’s not something you shouldn’t ignore. If you’re requested to conduct a lab test, ask the doctor if you can get yours done elsewhere.
If yes, then shop around and compare the average price of laboratory tests in various facilities. That way, you’ll have better opportunity to find one with the lowest price, get your test done, and save a couple of dollars.
The Pros And Cons Of Health Insurance
In 2019, a whopping 90.9 percent of US citizens had health insurance. This is a monthly payment that’s quite expensive. Hence, many individuals prefer to foot their medical expenses out-of-pocket.
Here are pros and cons of the private health insurance.
Pros of health insurance:
- Opportunity to pick your preferred doctor – Private insurance gives you the freedom to choose your doctor, including medical facility. If you like, you can also choose the same doctor over and over.
- Short waiting time – Normally, if you’re to get a surgery which isn’t life-threatening, the waiting time is always longer. But with private health insurance, you get to enjoy a shorter waiting time.
Cons of health insurance:
- Creates inequality – In the public care system, everyone is treated equally, money or no money. Treatment is by the severity of patients’ condition. But in a private system, healthcare providers and insurance companies treat patients unequally. If you can pay more, you’ll get preferential treatment.
- Does not cover all medical services – Having private health insurance doesn’t mean that the insurance company will cover all your medical costs. You have to choose a plan that best suits your budget and needs. If you make the wrong decision, you might be forced to pay a substantial amount out-of-pocket.
There are huge benefits attached to private health insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone can cope with the huge monthly payment one has to make to keep the insurance plan running. By the way, even if you’re uninsured, you can still enjoy medical bills. Read through the information on this post.