Medical Alternatives for those without health insurance

If you are like me and millions of other Americans you know that health insurance is expensive and out of reach (cost wise) for most of us. I personally do not have health insurance and haven't had it for years. My employer currently offers no plan so I just made do without it. At this point I simply cannot afford it on my own.

For those of us without insurance going to a typical doctor's office is not an option most of the time. I personally rarely get sick so this is normally not an issue for me. I have done some research for ways to get healthcare at a reasonable cost without having insurance. Here are a few options:

  • Drug store / Grocery Store Clinics: These are usually set up during the fall/winter to give flu shots. What most people don't know is that they are staffed by a nurse practitioner and you pay set rates for getting other treatments. You pay $59 for flu treatment & prescription of any needed drugs, for example. For someone without insurance this is very reasonable!
  • Generic Drugs: This is a big way to save on costs. Most prescription drugs have a generic version which is always cheaper. If the pharmacy does not offer it then ask for it!
  • County Health Departments: A lot of counties across the US run a county sponsored health clinic. This is a great place to get shots for school or travel, treatment of minor illnesses, and advice on preventative care. They are also very reasonable cost wise since they are supported by taxes.
  • Immediate Care Clinics: This is probably your most expensive option but is still cheaper than a hospital in a bind. These are run for non-emergency care and you can negotiate the price a little if you pay cash. They do accept most insurance providers if you have it. The advantage here is that you can walk in without an appointment and usually be seen right away.
  • Free Clinics: You may have to wait a long time but you cannot complain for free! These are not everywhere but major cities tend to have at least one. You might wait all day and not get seen but if you need the care and cannot afford any of the above options this is your only choice!
Even if you have no health insurance at all we have some reasonable options out there. It is also good to call a doctor's office and tell them what you need and how much you can pay. Some are flexible and like getting cash today instead of waiting for weeks from an insurance company. It never hurts to bargain and the worst thing they can do is say no!