Across the US, almost all who can, have health insurance. According to census report from 2011, 15.7 percent (48.6 million) of the US population did not have health insurance. Nearly half (46%) of adults ages 19 to 64 did not have insurance for the full year or were underinsured and unprotected from high out-of-pocket costs. Many medical professionals as well as uninsured tend to think that emergency room is the only place for medical care for the uninsured. That is a wrong notion. Here are important tips for the uninsured:
- The law says that all hospitals in the US must treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. It does not say that hospitals cannot later come after you for all you owe them. So you have every reason to try to keep yourself out of the emergency room even……especially if you have no insurance.
- Be equal partner in your care. If after hearing all pros and cons of a certain test or treatment, you think you do not want to go for it, say so. Thank your doctor for explaining the test/treatment and make your decision clear. Take responsibility for your decision. This is better than walking out of the office keeping everybody guessing. That allays your doctor’s anxiety and concerns, and you will be able to retain a good doctor even if you do not do exactly as she initially proposed.
- If you end up needing a procedure in the hospital, shop around for a hospital that will be most willing to understand your situation and work with you.
- Ask your doctor about generic drugs. Shop around to see if any of your prescribed meds or their alternatives are on ‘4 dollar a month’ prescription program that quite a few pharmacies offer.
- At Smart Heart care, we have a rate list for our cash pay patients. It should just take a quick phone call to our office to know how much a certain service will cost to you. This brings predictability and also helps you manage your finances.
At Smart Heart Care, we do not have ‘no insurance, no service’ policy. We welcome those without health insurance. Just call us at 702 473 5333 to get a clear idea about the cost, so you can plan accordingly.
Keshav Chander, MD
Cardiologist, Las Vegas.