How Lower Income Individuals Can Find Affordable Healthcare
If a turbulent financial situation or lack of income has hampered your efforts to find affordable healthcare, consider the following options.
When the United States’ healthcare system comes up in conversation, many people immediately think of exorbitant costs. Despite insurance becoming more accessible in recent years, the U.S. continues to maintain a for-profit healthcare system, with certain politicians fighting tooth and nail against single-payer options. As a result, many lower-income individuals and people living well below the poverty line have considerable trouble finding affordable healthcare. This often results in serious ailments being ignored until the point at which they become debilitating or fatal.
It’s a fact that tracking down affordable healthcare options in the U.S. is difficult – but it is by no means impossible. Many impoverished individuals who lack coverage of any sort are eligible for a lot more benefits than they realize. Furthermore, with the Affordable Care Act in effect, finding an insurance plan that suits your needs – and finances – has become easier than ever. Access to healthcare is a basic human right – one that no one should allow themselves to be denied. If a turbulent financial situation or lack of income has hampered your efforts to find affordable healthcare, consider the following options.
Since passing the House and Senate in 2013, the Affordable Care Act – also known as “Obamacare” – has helped tens of millions of uninsured Americans find and purchase comprehensive insurance plans through Healthcare.gov, a.k.a. the Health Insurance Marketplace. Despite some initial functionality issues, the aforementioned site is now speedy, efficient and very user-friendly. After registering with the site and providing some basic information about your living situation and income level, you’ll be greeted with a litany of plans for which you qualify. Even if many of these plans were initially out of your price range, the amount you’ll be charged varies depending on your annual income. In essence, you’ll be responsible for a percentage of the monthly payments, with the government subsidizing the difference. Furthermore, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, providers can no longer reject applicants or hike up their rates because of preexisting conditions.
Apply for Medicaid
Not all low-income individuals qualify to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act. Those making under $11, 770 a year are ineligible to receive help from the ACA. This is where Medicaid enters the picture. Although there are several stark differences between the two programs, Medicaid is essentially Medicare for people under the age of 65. To find out if you qualify, visit your state’s Medicaid website or fill out the Medicaid application found at the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you’re approved, you’ll need to seek out providers and hospitals who accept Medicaid, like MiddleTownImagining – the Garden State’s foremost authority on MRIs, scans, digital x-rays and ultrasounds.
Negotiate With Providers
It’s important to remember that health insurance and/or Medicaid generally won’t absolve you of all medical expenses, though they will reduce these expenses considerably. So if you receive a medical bill you’re unable to pay, place a call to your provider’s billing department to discuss your options. You may be surprised by how willing they are to work out a manageable payment plan or forgive the debt entirely if you simply ask. Furthermore, many hospitals offer financial aid to impoverished and uninsured patients, the benefits of which can often be applied to bills retroactively.
Not having access to healthcare be equal parts frustrating and frightening, particularly for individuals with preexisting conditions. Fortunately, nearly everyone who needs professional healthcare has a viable avenue for obtaining it – regardless of whether or not they realize it.
About the Author: Amy Flint is a restaurant manager and aspiring restaurateur who resides in her hometown of Middletown, New Jersey. Whenever she or one of her children needs an x-ray, ultrasound or any other radio imaging procedure, Ellen places a call to Middletown Medical Imaging.