Health Care and Health Care Affordability
The following material came from a commenter, Dr. T, who shared the information in response to a reader who was struggling about health insurance.
We found the material so well written and thorough that we wanted to share it with everyone and not just in that comment thread since there are some great resources here.
Thanks, Dr. T!
No health insurance is the talk of the day today. It is something that many American's unfortunately experience and it has become one of the greatest problems in the United States for everyone, even the working class. Whatever socio-economic group you associate yourself with, there will always be someone with poor health insurance, no health insurance, or health insurance with very little benefits. There will also be those who pay too much for health insurance.
Please allow me to share some resources that can help the uninsured or the "under-insured."
I've seen many desperately in need of health care and I too was in need at one time in my life for health insurance; I completely understand the stress and worry associated with needing health insurance.
Here are a few resources for individual's who desperately need health care:
There are federally funded health centers that offer free care. You can enter your address at this website to find one near you:
There are several places that help people find affordable, new health insurance:
Learn about COBRA at the Department of Labor's website: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.html
Sometimes it's less expensive to utilize your own health insurance through companies such as Highmark at: www.highmarkbcbs.com, than to use COBRA. But view it anyway, each situation is different.
Government programs offer health insurance as well. These programs are great for individual's who cannot afford high cost premiums (monthly payements), need Medicare or Medicaid, does not have health insurance through their employer, or has children in need of health insurance. Such programs include:
States also have what they call "High risk pools" for individual's who have pre-existing health conditions and meet other criteria: http://www.naschip.org/states_pools.htm (you can check by state).
Lastly, you may find it in your best interest to consider applying for high deductible health insurance. This is usually good for young individual's who have very little health concerns and mild pre-existing conditions. These programs, which can be found through UPMC or Highmark programs, offer you lower premiums (monthly payments) as low as $90 for females and $80 or less for males, with deductibles (the amount you must pay over-time before your health insurance company will cover 90-100% of your health care costs) as high as $3,500. This means that you may get some coverage such as routine (every 12 months) doctor visits that will require you to only pay some portion of your care such as 10-20%, while you are paying monthly toward your deductible. For example, although you may not be able to benefit completely from your insurance until you meet your deductible, you can still receive some services and only have to pay a portion for them. Again, such programs are better for college students or individual's who do not need constant medical attention.
Short-term health insurance programs may also be of interest. Such programs will offer you full benefits for 30 days or more as long as you do not have a pre-existing health condition.
In addition, consider applying for employment where great health insurance benefits are offered. This may be your last resort, but it may also be a good one. Here is a website that lists employers according to the type of insurance they offer and what's great about it is that you only have to work part-time: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2008/12/22/companies-that-give-benefits-to-part-timers/
"Health care cannot wait" http://www.cnn.com/video/