Medical Care Without Health Insurance?
For many of us, it’s one of our worst fears: needing medical care and not having health insurance coverage. Millions of Americans are in this position with more individuals and families potentially being added to the group each time someone loses a job. But, while needing medical care without health insurance can be a frightening reality to face, there are options available to you.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which was passed in 1986, requires insurance companies to offer continued health coverage to you after you lose your job. Most people recognize this protection by the name of it’s parent policy, known as the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, or COBRA. While COBRA was a reliable stand-by solution for many consumers in the past, since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, former employees can now choose from plans in the insurance marketplace. As of this writing, the future “shape” of the Affordable Care Act is very much in flux, but is currently still a part of the mix.
EMTALA Guarantees Your Rights
Besides providing continued coverage, EMTALA policies guarantee that individuals can be seen in any emergency room, without fear of being turned away due to inability to pay for services. Hospital staff will then access whether or not the injury is of a serious nature. If it is, they are obligated to stabilize the patient at which time they can determine whether to transfer them to a charity facility or treat them there.
The federal government also provides some assistance through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. But since the government makes the determination as to how the funding for these programs is divided up between states, they are often somewhat limited in what they can offer.
Hospitals and Doctors May Also Be Willing to Assist
Hospitals sometimes have charity programs that will take care of your medical bill in the event that you are unable to pay. Of course, these programs are only intended for individuals or families with very low income, and you must qualify to be elegible.
Some doctors are also willing to put patients on a payment plan for office visits if they can show cause for such a need. This might require some extensive research on your part, since the number of doctors who are willing to participate in such a program are limited.
Don’t Overlook Training Programs for Some Types of Care
If you are in need of dental care, you can contact a local dentistry school. Part of the training of these schools involves hands-on experience. These schools will often perform dental procedures at either a greatly reduced cost or even for free in exchange for providing the experience for their students.
Some people will postpone or even ignore the need for medical treatment simply because they are not aware of the options that the state and federal governments currently have in place to offer assistance. But there are times when medical care without health insurance is needed and the individual is not given the proper level of treatment or is even turned away by a facility. If you find yourself in either of these positions, you should contact an attorney to see what can be done to address your situation.
Research Your Options Early
The choices available to you when you need medical care without health insurance evolve and change often. Laws and programs are revised and updated regularly, so it’s always necessary to do the proper research as soon as you think you’re going to be in an uninsured position. Do not wait until critical medical attention is required to begin learning about your alternatives.
For Additional Information
- Alternatives to Buying COBRA Insurance
- Covered California – The Affordable Care Act
- The Healthcare Marketplace
- Health Care Options for the Unemployed
Let Aslin Tutuyan Help You Evaluate Your Personal Injury Case
Aslin Tutuyan is a personal injury attorney with The Mandell Law Firm in Woodland Hills, California. Mandell Law is an aggressive personal injury law firm serving clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, the Greater Los Angeles area, and Southern California. Experienced and reputable, our attorneys provide hands-on care and sincere commitment to victims of personal injury and harms of all kinds, including accidents and third party negligence. Contact Aslin Tutuyan for a free consultation at 818.886.6600.