Health insurance has been a hot topic for debate over the last few years, especially here in the Phoenix Valley. Whether you supported universal health care measures or not, we’ve seen a huge increase in premiums and many people are still not receiving the treatment they so desperately seek. Here in the Phoenix Valley, we have seen reports of people going without medical help and some end up losing their life because they felt they could not afford treatment.
A trend is also occurring where people have been using their emergency room as their doctor’s office. Here, doctors are required to see patients with or without insurance. Patients are slapped with a gigantic bill afterward, often that doesn’t get paid in full. This practice also takes away emergency room doctor’s precious and valuable time from seeing other, more critical patients.
If you’ve found yourself in this frustrating and seemingly endless situation, there is good news. In fact, there are many ways you can receive health care in whatever dilemma you find yourself in. Let’s take a look at the options that might help you if you are in pain or need of medical attention.
Believe it or not, many healthcare providers are still accepting cash. In fact, you might be surprised to know they actually prefer cash in many cases. You will need to take the initiative to ask, but it will be worth it. You should also ask for a discount up front and get that in writing by a supervisor or the doctor. Paying cash takes the 3rd party insurance companies right out of the equation.
Direct Primary Care Providers
Another alternative trend happening in Phoenix is the direct primary care provider model. In this model, you will pay a monthly or quarterly fee as a retainer. In return, you will have access to a primary care physician that will cover most basic care needs. This model will not cover emergency services, however, so a high deductible wraparound policy would also be recommended if you went this route.
Continually popping up all over the Phoenix valley, walk-in clinics are becoming very popular. You might have seen these clinics in stand alone pharmacies or grocery stores tucked in a back corner. They are a great option as they are staffed with certified practitioners who usually offer affordable services. Often times, these services can be half the cost of regular doctor’s office that accepts cash. Walk-in clinics are known for treating things like strep, pink eye, bladder infections while also offering vaccines and routine labs. If you are seeking medical attention that is not life threatening, a walk-in clinic might be just right for you.
Short Term Health Insurance
If you still feel like you should carry some type of insurance, short term health insurance or temporary health insurance could be the right option for you. The plans are typically very affordable, but are only for a limited time. They are offered if you might have missed an enrollment period, waiting to get on Medicare, leaving your parents’ insurance plan or you are between jobs. The benefits of short term health insurance include receiving coverage quickly, being able to choose your deductible, you can drop your coverage without penalty, the network of providers is generally very large and as mentioned above, it is very affordable. If you feel awkward going without insurance, then a short term health insurance plan might be for you.
Throughout the year, a doctor’s office or hospital may offer a low cost health screening clinic. The goal is to raise awareness about certain diseases and offer a way to aid in prevention and early detection. Often, diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, prostate cancer and breast cancer are screened. It doesn’t hurt to call around local clinics and hospitals to see if a health screening might be coming up in your area.
A local community clinic could be of service to your situation, especially if you have fallen on a financial hardship. Based on your income, these clinics offer discounted and free services depending in your situation. Community clinics generally cover family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, ob/gyn, behavioral health, HIV/AIDS testing and sometimes dental. Locally, the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers would be a great place to start.
Nothing is more scary than going without health coverage. The price of insurance should not deter you from seeking help, especially if you are in pain. Many doctors and clinics in the Phoenix Valley are more than willing to negotiate prices and cash options. Sometimes it just takes the initiative to ask and see what they can do for you. Your doctor may even have an option for you that you were unaware of. Waiting too long to see the doctor can make your situation even more difficult or impossible to fix.
Comments are closed.