What do you do if you don't have medical insurance?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Suz, Aug 1, 2008.

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  1. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Rob cut the top of his foot last night. It's serious and apparently severed a tendon. He's been working but doesn't have medical insurance. He went to the ER last night to get stitched up but needs surgery to repair the tendon. That's scheduled for Tuesday.

    What do folks do who don't have medical insurance and can't possibly pay these kinds of bills? (and it's a cinch I can't afford them either)

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    He'll have to work out a payment plan with the hospital and doctor. Really not much else can be done unless his income is low enough that the hospital writes it off...which is unlikely.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Travis has had most of his bills written off by the hospital. Even the new ones for the oncologist. But your best bet for that is using a County hospital. Otherwise, you just make payment arrangements with the doctor and such for each of the bills. Stinks but not much else can be done.

    Has he tried getting on Welfare insurance? Worth a shot. All they can do is tell him no.
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Have him fill out the forms at the hospital for Charity Care.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    We didn't have insurance for several years, though Miss KT was on Medi-Cal. If you're an AAA member, you can get discounts on prescriptions at several pharmacies, Longs and Costco I know. Otherwise, we just set up payment plans.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Go back to the hospital BEFORE the surgery and have him speak to the medicaid worker. If he talks to her AFTER the surgery? They won't help him.
  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Thanks you guys. Honestly, this kid can't seem to get a break. It's so frustrating. I just talked to him and told him what you suggested. I hope something works out for him.

    We certainly need a better system for the working poor...

  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Ouch! That's gotta be painful... hope they can work something out for him payment-wise. And hope the surgery goes well Tuesday! I've always had group insurance through an employer (either mine or husband's), so can't offer any advice on how state sponsored systems work...
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I don't know if it varies by state, but in Ohio a single person cannot get medicaid unless s/he is disabled or over 60. The only adults that can get medicaid in Ohio other than those that are disabled or over 60 are pregnant women and parents with minor children.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Once you have the injury/treatment, you can apply for medicaid based on the situation. No quarantees, but it can work. When I needed the hysterectomy I was told to have it and then while I was IN the hospital have the hospital SW help with the application.

    Maybe this would help?

    I am sorry he hurt himself. Any chance it was on the job and workman's comp could cover?
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I don't have a lot of suggestions but he has my sympathies because my son was in the same position for several years and I know how it is. He has always worked, ever since he was a kid in high school, sometimes two jobs and once he even had three! But there was always some reason he couldn't get health insurance, even though the places where he worked technically offered it. I think his experiences are pretty typical and it's things like this that cause so many people to "fall through the cracks".

    One job that he had for several years technically offered health insurance to their 7 or 8 employees. But the business owner paid them so poorly and the insurance was so expensive, none of them could afford it on what he paid them! Another place he worked offered insurance but you could only sign up for it during one 2-week period of the year. He worked there almost a year before he could enroll in their insurance program. Another place offered insurance but only after an employee became "permanent" after a 6-month probationary period - so that was another 6 months with no insurance. So it's very easy to be a hard-working continuously employed person and not have medical insurance.

    He's spent a lot more time without insurance than with it. And during those periods with no insurance he managed to break several of his fingers, broke a bone in his foot when a box was dropped on it, suffered with severe allergies and sinus infections, and got a hernia! Because he had no insurance, he never went to a doctor, even when he should have, unless he was so miserable he absolutely had to go. And if he found a doctor that would see him, when he did go, the only thing he could do is try to work out some kind of payment plan. He's been working in the same place for two years now and thank God, he's got great medical and dental insurance now. He's had all his dental work taken care of after having to neglect it for years, and now he's having a work related problem with his hands and will probably have to have carpal tunnel surgery done and be off work for six weeks afterwards! I don't know what the answers are, but nobody should have to just learn to live with medical problems because they have no insurance and can't afford to pay for the treatment they need.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a major bone of contention for me. Some hospitals do have what is known as indigent care programs for people with low income. Tell him to call the social worker at the hospital before he has the surgery to see what he has to do to apply for that.

    When Tony was rushed to the ER with his stroke it was to a wonderful hospital but they had little to no help for people who had no insurance. They came in and interviewed him for medicaid and workers comp but since he didnt meet criteria for either of those...he was out of luck. We appealed to the financial office for any sort of charity care and never heard back and still get bills. Large bills...lol. Needless to say they wont get paid. We send them 5 bucks a month.
  13. Lori4ever

    Lori4ever New Member

    When my kids were younger, my oldest fell off a spinning merry go round and had a razor blade cut straight through the center of his nose. They had to do surgery to reconstruct the inside and out. That bill cost $80.00 at a couny hospital. Please do check around to make sure it's a good one, though. I have been to both, and the bad is usually REALLY bad. With no insurance, it may be a good thing for him to check into at some point, anyway. You just never know if at some point you may need it. I sure hope he finds a way to do this without medical bill issues haunting him. That makes it so rough on them.
  14. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    All hospotals have grants for the uninsured/underinsured but you have to ask for them. Allot of times they will act like they don't know what you are talking about. Also, the prices are NEGOTIABLE. They way overcharge ppl with-o insurance. If you have ins call them with the medical code and ask them what they pay for them, then offer to pay that amt to the hospital an work out a pmt plan.
    hope all goes well!

  15. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    Hi Suz,

    I second the good advice of the others. Inquire about "free bed funds." I would go so far as to say go beyond a general inquiry, see if there is a social worker on board at the hospital; they will guide you/Rob thru the process.

    Start the process early on, they tend to be more helpful when you haven't let a whole lot of time go by. Before I had health insurance, I had a couple of uninsured medical catastrophes and the collectors can really hound you if you haven't done your part.

    Mr. Rob - take care of that foot - keep it clean and I hope you feel better.

    Suz, one more thing, I forget where you live - but there is often medicaid or some sort of insurance for the employed disabled.
  16. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    over the years we have had periods of no insurance - and I also had no ins before I married. I worked 3 jobs from age 12 till 27 yrs old, waited tables at a small mom and pop place, they did not have insurance, was a nanny, - no insurance and worked a factory that supposedly technically offered insurance except NO worker got enough hours to be eligible, they refused to ever schedule anyone enough hours to get it. And I sold Avon. LOL. Dureing that time I DID mess up my knee and required major surgery (this was pre arthroscopic surgery) What I did all those years ago was after getting the verdict on my knee, with help from hospital soc wrkr, I applied for social security disability, even tho technically my injury was not a qualifying kind,workers comp even tho it was definetly not workers comp related, and applied for unemployment, even tho that was absolute incorrect, I was advised to do it anyway, and then apply for welfare, due to applications pending on everything else. Of course this was pre computer age....and at that time, they would give you temp coverage while everything was pending, and the surgery got scheduled in in a hurry in that small short window of time. ANd yes, post surgery my denials trickled in, but my surgery was covered.
    when my 2 girls were small, I worked as a nurses aide at a nurseing home here, and at first our pay was ok and covered our ok medical insurance, but, then ins began to rise in cost, and before long our health insurance deduction began to be higher than our pay checks and on pay day we had to PAY rather than get a paycheck. Worse at that time there were 10 of us who had gotten our certificate to be a nurses aide thru our employer, (that was when CNAs first began needing to be certified) and our employee certified us BUT we had to agree to work there 2 years in exchange, so we were in a bad spot......
    Since then, there have been times we barely qualified for Medicaide, and some times where we were mere dollars per year over income cut off guidelines.
    Our hospital will NOT accept $5 a month payments.....they actually have some deal going with Capital One for medical care credit card something or anothers. I believe our hospitals "arrangement" is something along the lines of a bill under x must be paid within 3 months and a bill over x must be paid within a year? if you miss a payment, within a week of the due date, the collection agency is on your tail continuously and aggresively. And unless something is life threatening, the hosital and docs will not provide care until you put up a hefty deposit up front.

    when I first became ill with my Lupus and rheumatic illness, I had crummy insurance and I did see doctor, but doctor was not getting a diagnosis on me going. I wound up becoming so ill, I could not work, but did not have a diagnosis that qualified for disability at that time....so- I could not get any help and lost my job, and still could not get help. and without my job I could not get care.....and wound up with a long period of no care, no job, no support for my family, kids included, and after 2 years of that, social security THEN said since I had by then been unable to work for 2 years, they sent me to their doctor to be examined and I was THEN awarded bens and retro back pay, becuz THEN I finally got a diagnosis. (formally)
    Health care here has been hit or miss, sometimes limping along.and even when we have had Medicaide, it can be quite difficult-near impossible to GET care. Many people do wind up haveing to declare bankruptcy due to medical issues. I am not certain, but I believe it is possibly the number one reason for bankruptcy. and that has been true for decades. There is some saying along the lines of many many people are just one medical crisis away from total financial devastation. Truth is even people who DO have insurance can fall into sevre financial hardship from a medical crisis. My sons eye surgeries were $80,000 EACH. not includeing Rxs, equipment (eye patches, glasses etc) or travel etc. My best friends medical bills for her cancer battle came very close to a million, and insurance paid only approx 75% on her. a friend battleing luekemia had $350,000 in bills one year.
    and sadly many of the jobs that do not provide opportunity to get insurance also do not hold someones job dureing a medical crisis.

    I sympathize strongly- it is a bad bad mess. it is my fear for my children as they get older and move towards independance.
  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Another problem my son had at his previous job ... he had several injuries that were work related and should have been covered by workers comp. But if people tried to apply for workers comp to pay for their medical bills and time off work, their jobs had a funny way of disappearing! Technically, no one actually worked for this large factory with several hundred employees and round-the-clock operations. It all went through this "agency" that did the hiring, firing, and administered their pay - even their W2 forms came from this "agency", not the factory itself. If you were hurt and tried to file on a work-related injury, this "agency" simply didn't place you at this factory anymore and you were out of a job! It caused people to have to work with injuries and to go without needed medical treatment. It inhales deeply, but that's the way it is in a lot of these places.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you qualify for Medicaid. Here in Wisconsin, our Medicaid is better than private insurance. We have it.
  19. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    After reading your wonderful batches of advice, I checked out the hospital online and have a phone number to give to Rob to call Monday morning. I hope he follows through and qualifies. It seems like they do have programs available for reduced bills. :whew:

    Thank you all so much!
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The only thing I can suggest, is to collectively lobby your Federal government to put in place a national health system that at least partly resembles what we have in Australia. It's not a "free" health care, we pay for it with our taxes. But it is directly related to our income. If we earn below a certain amount, we pay no Medicare levy. Above a certain amount, we ALL pay a small percentage (it's about 1.5% of total income). Above an even larger amount (I think it's $100,000 pa) the levy is higher, unless you also have private health insurance. And private health insurance doesn't double-up - it covers what Medicare does not, such as private hospitals, elective surgery, extras such as dental & optical etc. So the poorest person on the streets has medical treatment available, the same level as the richest man in the country.

    There are still problems with our health system, it IS expensive to run, but after so many years of this, most of the bugs have been ironed out. The computing system that keeps track of it all allows a lot of other trackwork to happen (which could scare a lot of civil rights people) but it generally boils down to - a good system which doesn't hurt anybody who is doing the right thing. The system generally screens out and catches people who try to exploit the system (such as doctors trying to fiddle the numbers to make more money - they get flagged by the computer and penalised).

    To make it work we each have a Medicare number, from birth. Often it's the same number for all members of the family, with a prefix number showing your designated place in the family. On our family Medicare card, for example, I am No 1, mostly because that's how husband filled in the paperwork when Medicare first came in. difficult child 3 is No 6. easy child used to be No 3 but now has her own unique Medicare number now she lives independently and requested her own card.
    We use Medicare numbers for identity also, as you use Social Security numbers. We also have Tax File numbers as identity, as an ID supplement. For full-on ID, we use passports or drivers licenses. Or birth certificates, if we have nothing else.

    It works for us. I'm sure it could be adapted for the US, even at a base level. The flow-on benefits are a guarantee to hospitals that they WILL get paid for the work they do even if it's not quite the full value (85% of an agreed scheduled fee), and this can make it easier for them to get on with the job of treating people.

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