Unfortunately, many people are faced with the problem of what to do if you can’t afford a doctor. With the cost of health insurance skyrocketing, and deductibles climbing higher than ever, it is not unusual to find yourself in a situation where you are looking for answers to what to do if you can’t afford a doctor. You will find some solutions right here that may work for you.
Prepare Ahead of Time
There are certain things that are simply a fact of life. You will at one point need medical care, whether it is a simple throat examination to diagnose a sore throat or it is an emergency room visit to X-ray an injured arm. One of the easiest ways to prepare for the inevitable is to save for it.
For example, let’s say you have one of those high-deductible health insurance plans. Pairing it with a Health Savings Account can prepare you for visits to the audiologists, your primary care provider, and other medical providers. An HSA can help to offset the out-of-pocket costs so that you do not find yourself in a position looking for answers about what to do if you can’t afford a doctor.
Another option for those that have Medicare, is to opt-in for supplemental insurance. Supplemental insurance helps to pick up the cost of plans with high deductibles. It can lessen the blow whether you are hospitalized or have to see a specialist.
For example, if you have Medicare, you may not have coverage for certain care like TMJ care at the dentist and would have to pay out of pocket for this type of necessary care. However, if you had a Medicare supplement plan in place, that may cover the cost of the treatment. Of course, these tactics will help you in the future but do not solve the immediate problem. Keep reading to find solutions to what to do if you can’t afford a doctor now.
Sliding Scale Payments
Many communities have health clinics that run on a “sliding scale payment” method. Sliding scale payments are figured out based on your income. If you find yourself looking for answers about what to do if you can’t afford a doctor, this type of program can help.
You will need to provide income information and other documentation to qualify for this type of program, but it can be a huge help and is worth the time to see if you are eligible. Some communities also have dental offices that work on a sliding scale. A visit to the doctor can be as low as $20 if you are eligible.
Connect with your local social services office to find out if there are any health clinics near you that offer this type of program. It can be a great way to make healthcare more affordable.
Your Local Health Department
If you struggle with what to do if you can’t afford a doctor, consider contacting your local health department. Every county has one. You can find a wide range of services at your local health department including healthcare for family planning, diagnostic blood testing, vaccines, and more, all for free to low cost.
If you are relatively healthy and do not require a battery of tests, this can be a great place to find affordable health care. Health departments often have other resources available for low to no-cost healthcare programs in your area. SEO for doctor offices may not reach the intended audience. In this case, people that are trying to find solutions to what to do if they can’t afford a doctor, but may have promoted their low-cost clinic directly to the health department in your area. Call your health department and ask what to do if you can’t afford a doctor in your area.
You Could Do This
If you are struggling with finding the money to get the health care you need, you may be able to take advantage of a loan program that is specifically set up to cover the costs of health care. There are specific programs that are designed to cover the cost of health care in the form of a loan. This can be a good option if you need to take a short-term loan that you can pay back right away. It can also be a good option for procedures that your health insurance considers elective and will not cover.
However, before you jump on the bandwagon and apply for a health care loan or a health care credit card, consider the repayment terms. Will you be able to make the payments when they become due? Unfortunately, in the United States, unpaid medical bills are the reason cited for filing for bankruptcy about 60% of the time.
A bankruptcy attorney can help you file if you find yourself in a position where you just cannot keep up with payments, but, your credit will take a huge hit, and it may be a few years before you can re-establish your credit.
Taking a loan to cover medical costs is something that you should evaluate carefully. Consider the interest rate you will be paying, how long you will be paying the loan, and if it is really a necessary tool. Of course, if you have serious health concerns, then take the loan if you need to, to care for the healthcare that will help you get back on your feet.
Ask your provider about payment plans. One of the solutions to what to do if you can’t afford a doctor is to find a provider that offers payment plans. Unlike a sliding scale situation, you will have to pay full price, but if the payments are broken down into more affordable weekly or monthly payments, it can make the visit more affordable.
It can be hard to call a provider’s office, explain your financial situation, and then ask if there are any payment plans available, but it can result in getting the care you need in a much more affordable way. Of course, you have to ask. Most providers are not advertising that they will work with patients on their billing because health care providers are small business owners that likely cannot extend credit to their patients regularly, but they may be able to make exceptions for those that are willing to ask.
Online Medical Care
This may sound a little strange at first but you can get healthcare online. One of the solutions that many people are finding work for them when they need an answer about what to do if you can’t afford a doctor is to turn to online medical care. You can consult with a certified doctor via video chat online. They will take a brief medical history and listen to your symptoms and come up with a treatment option.
As long as you do not have any underlying health conditions this can be a cheap easy way to treat a wide range of common health problems. When you find a service you want to use for your online health care, there will be a list of illnesses you can look for. The doctor can call in your prescription to your local pharmacy when the call is made. Again, this is a great option for common illnesses, not if you have underlying health conditions.
Online doctors can prescribe a wide range of medications to treat things like urinary tract infections. Conjunctivitis, common cold, flu, skin rashes, and more. Some services charge as little as $25 for a visit. It can be a great solution.
There are many holistic approaches you can try to treat a wide range of health concerns. From herbal supplements to homemade onion cough suppressants there is a holistic homeopathic option for every health problem. Of course, there is a learning curve when it comes to a holistic approach to medical care, but there are plenty of resources online that can point you in the right direction.
Make sure that you have certain things on hand in your home to help when you need medical care and do not have the money to go to the doctor. Simple things like medical wipes, steri-strips (butterfly stitches), band-aids, peroxide, pain relievers, and other items can save you a trip to the doctor.
Do be careful if you decide to try some of the holistic cures, because there is always a risk with anything that you do to your body. Be sure to fully evaluate your options and read up on potential side effects before you make a decision to try an herbal or holistic remedy.
Prevention is The Best Cure
One of the best solutions for what to do if you can’t afford a doctor is to take steps to make sure you will need a doctor less. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” hits the nail right on the head. By making lifestyle changes, eating better, exercising, and educating yourself on holistic approaches you can worry less about paying for the doctor and instead enjoy more good health.
Learn to recognize the early signs of not feeling well, and start treatment as soon as possible. For example, if you know your body and you know that you are more tired than normal for a couple of days, ramp up your Vitamin C intake to boost your immune system. It may not fully stop the cold from showing up, but the cold will stick around for a shorter period.
Part of a prevention plan should include learning how to control your stress. Stress is the number one enemy of good health. When you are over-stressed for long periods, your immune system takes a huge hit. When your immune system is compromised because of stress, your body’s natural ability to ward off disease is compromised. Work on getting stress under control to reduce the need to see a doctor and worry about the bill, which of course causes more stress.
There Are Solutions
One of the problems that people need to overcome when they are dealing with what to do when you can’t afford a doctor is not to wait for answers. You must be proactive. Some of the things you can try may make you feel uncomfortable, like applying for a sliding scale program or asking a doctor to accept payments, but it is necessary to get what you need.
If you wait for a solution to suddenly drop in your lap you will wait a long time. Being proactive and asking questions and applying for programs tells providers that you really need the service and that you will do what you need to, to get it. Being a go-getter is an admirable quality that healthcare providers and others respect. It may be just the trait that you need to display to get the help you need.
Shop around. Do not just take one “no” as the answer. Keep going until you find a “yes” to your problem. It may take a little effort and time, but if you keep pushing you will find a solution and be able to get the health care that you need.
Compare pricing when you are in a situation where you do not have the money to pay for medical care. Many people make the mistake of thinking that all doctors charge the same amount, but they do not. You should call providers and do a price comparison. You may find that there is health care available that is more affordable than you thought. Keep moving forward, and try some of the solutions you found here to get the healthcare that you deserve.