5/16/2012 8:04 PM ET|
Survival guide for the uninsured
Wondering how to pay for your next checkup? If you’re one of the many Americans living without health insurance, there may be more options for you than you know.
One out of four working-age adults in the United States experienced a period without health insurance during 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (.pdf file).
The youngest U.S. workers were the most likely to be uninsured. Among adults aged 19 to 25, 41.7% went without coverage for at least part of 2010.
The CDC said:
● More than 60 million U.S. residents of all ages lacked health insurance for at least part of the year.
● Nearly 50 million were uninsured at the time they were interviewed.
● Nearly 36 million had been uninsured for more than a year at the time of their interviews.
That's a whole lot of people exposed to catastrophic losses if they get sick or injured.
Insurance exchanges that could help more Americans find affordable health coverage and tax credits to help most of them pay for it are more than a year away -- that is, if the Supreme Court doesn't gut the health care reform law that would create them in 2014.
But some reforms that have already been implemented may help you find coverage -- or keep you from losing the health insurance you have. Even if you can't get insurance, there are ways to still get care.
Four major changes that have already happened:
The end of rescission. Insurers can no longer drop you when you get sick and start costing them real money. Before the ban, the staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce found that three large insurers rescinded almost 20,000 policies over five years, saving the companies $300 million in medical claims.
The end of lifetime caps on coverage. If you have health insurance, you don't have to worry that an illness or accident will leave you exposed to bankrupting bills because your expenses exceed a policy's limit. Before the change, 105 million Americans had policies with lifetime caps.
Young adults can get coverage through their parents. People under 26 can be added to or remain on their parents' policies. Before health care reform, insurers could remove children from their parents' policies when they turned 19. The ranks of uninsured young people have shrunk by 2.5 million people since the change, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The creation of high-risk pools. These pools, formally called pre-existing condition insurance plans, make health coverage available to people who would otherwise be uninsurable. To get coverage, an applicant:
- Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident,
- Must have been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition,
- And must have been uninsured for at least six months.
The pools were expected to help two million people get coverage, said Carolyn McClanahan, a doctor and certified financial planner with Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Fla., but they've gotten off to a very slow start. After only 22,000 people signed up, premiums were lowered by as much as 40% last May, and the federal government began offering commissions to insurance agents to sell the plans.
"Now they're paying insurance agents to talk about this," said McClanahan, who noted enrollment is now more than 56,000.
The details of the plans vary by state, but a 50-year-old living in San Francisco would pay $428 a month for a medical plan with a $1,500 deductible. In Florida, which offers three coverage options, the maximum monthly premium for a 50-year-old is $363.
You can start your search for a high-risk pool at HealthCare.gov.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Prescriptions- Liz forgot to mention you can shop around for the lowest cost. If you do not have a Costco card you can still use the pharmacy.
Also- call your local pharmacy to see if they will "price match".
Walmart is not always cheaper- a generic script would cost me $33 at Walmart- $11 at Target. Walmart advised me they did not price match.
This article was totally useless! The author assumes that you can afford to get insurance, but you just don't know what's available to you. Don't you realize that most people who don't have health insurance don't have it because they can't afford it? Any reasonably intelligent person realizes that health insurance is important. Millions of Americans don't have it because they work for minimum wage or slightly above and their employers don't offer insurance, or they are un-employed and there's NO WAY they can pay for insurance. An earlier post was from a guy who made $60,000 a year and can't afford $1200 per month to cover his wife and kids. How I WISH I had his problem!!
I make less than $9.00 per hour. My take home pay is approximately $1100 per month. I barely scrape by with the normal bills a person has. Our economy is crap! NO WAY CAN I AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE. I don't even go to the local "poor peoples clinic" unless it's an emergency because I can't afford the $30 office call. (Which is reasonable and the Dr. is awesome!)
There is NOTHING about the Affordable Health Care Act that will be affordable for people like me.
BTW, for those that wonder, I'm a single, 60 year old, college educated woman doing everything I can to take care of me. I'm not some low class bum waiting for a handout, a young kid who doesn't know any better, or any other class you might want to put me in.
OBAMACARE JUST WON'T WORK!!!
If you are out of options, there is one more that no one ever talks about- the Military. If you can qualify for one of the services ( especially if you have desirable civilian skills and education ) ,their family benefits package is almost as good as the Federal Government. In addition you'll get paid, free food , room and board, and education benefits when you get discharged. There are alot of people who have gone this route during the current recession. It beats being homeless or unemployed with no benefits.
By the way , I went this route. After my discharge, I went to college and got a degree, then another one. And now, I have a very successful and secure corporate career.
Yes, but what do you do when you're unemployed and can't afford coverage, as I have been for the past TEN YEARS? The only way that I can get to see a Dr. is through what is known as CHARITY CARE, but who knows how long that will last.
The late comedian George Carlin said it best... "THE REASON THEY CALL IT THE AMERICAN DREAM IS BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO BE ASLEEP TO BELIEVE IT"
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
RECENT ARTICLES ON HEALTH INSURANCE
Even those who don't like to shop are probably hitting the stores this month. Here's what to be on the lookout for and here's what to avoid.