Suppose you get into a hospital emergency without health insurance. In that case, under the Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor Act or EMTALA [a federal law] medical professionals have to treat you right away and don’t have to turn you away just because of your lack of insurance.
For those without health insurance, doctor bills can be astronomical. A single visit can send you into debt if you have to absorb most or even some of the costs without an insurer’s assistance.
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Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA)
Who Pays for Medical Bills
Insurance can be confusing, but it’s worth it when you need to see a doctor or get your prescription filled. Suppose you have insurance and want medical treatment for what ails ya. In that case, there are different levels of coverage depending on the plan. You’ll pay some co-payments up front just so that they know how much money you need before going in-network with:
- Doctors’ visits,
- Prescription drugs (drugs are often covered by plans too!)
- And ER trips (if necessary)
If you go without insurance, then all bets would be off!
Negotiate Your Hospital Bills, If You go to the Hospital Emergency without Insurance
Many hospitals offer uninsured individuals discounts for services such as elective surgery. When possible, it’s best to negotiate a bill before going into an emergency room or hospital for anything.
The hospital ombudsman can offer guidance about charitable care, which is financial assistance programs that help reduce a patient’s hospital bill. Non-profit hospitals are required to provide such help for low-income patients. There are many reasons why going to the hospital without medical insurance may not be a good idea, including that some hospitals will work out payments with patients. Medical bill collectors typically keep 50% of the income they get from people. Remember that having health coverage is better than not.
Visit an Urgent Care Center without Insurance
If you’re not in a life-threatening emergency situation, you may want to visit an urgent care centre near your local hospital. Staffers at these facilities are called “urgent care professionals,” and they treat minor illnesses or injuries which afflict many patients throughout the day. Suppose that you need further medical attention. In that case, staff will advise whether going to the ER would be best for diagnosis or treatment.
Urgent care often costs roughly half as much as going directly to the ER. Ex: A trip to an urgent care centre will cost you the office visit and any prescription drug or lab fee costs, whether or not you have health insurance. This visit is typically less expensive than a trip to the ER. However, you may have to pay in advance at an urgent care centre if you don’t have health insurance.
Covering Your Visit With Health Insurance
Sadly, in recent years the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans has risen. Roughly 28 million people in America have no health insurance coverage at all. At the same time, another 30 million are “underinsured,” meaning they don’t have health insurance that will reasonably cover their hospital bills. One reason the number of uninsured is increasing is that the federal government stopped requiring.
Now that the federal government can no longer enforce the individual mandate, people have dropped their health coverage. That financial incentive led many people to pick out a health plan. However, under the new administration, many people have dropped their insurance.
Having health insurance helps you maintain your financial security by preventing large medical bills that can lead to bankruptcy.