No Health Insurance, but I need to see a doctor

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Exactly as the title states. What can I do? I can't afford to pay out of pocket.

I'm male, 28 years old and I have been unemployed for a little over a year, and have been going to community college the entire time. I have been having back pain on and off for a few years, so I figured it wasn't really a big deal since it always went away after a week. This time, however, it hasn't gone away and its been almost two months.

I want to go see a doctor, but there is no way I can afford to pay for the office visits, and I would probably have to take x-rays, which I can't afford either.

Is there any type of program I can apply for? Does anyone know what programs illegal immigrants apply for and if I could apply for those programs as well, or get some other sort of assistance?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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Yeah, but won't going to an ER be way more expensive than, for example, calling around doctors offices and asking what t... (more)

zzyzzx (Jul. 16, 2009 @ 10:19a) |

Hit a gym. Work out gently to tone your core muscles, and do flexibility exercises.

There are primary care doctors who of... (more)

darkmeridian (Jul. 16, 2009 @ 1:57p) |

I too say 'No' to the chiropractor route for anyone with undiagnosed back pain (I'm waiting for flames - bring 'em on)
Ur... (more)

sephora (Jul. 17, 2009 @ 8:53p) |

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You can go to the emergency room. They cant turn you away there. You can also pay the bill back in very small weekly increments.

free clinics, or look for a "caring fund". search "access to care" or subsidized medical care programs.

You say you're in school. Can you sign up for the school's medical plan? Some schools offer limited medical as a perk of enrollment, some offer more expanded plans for a premium.

If you acquire some sort of insurance before seeing a doctor, whatever you do, don't say anything about your pain starting on a date prior to the start of your insurance. Yes, you will be lying to a doctor, but that's how F-ed up our medical care system is.

Work at Starbucks. All employees receive health insurance.

Swivelguy said: If you acquire some sort of insurance before seeing a doctor, whatever you do, don't say anything about your pain starting on a date prior to the start of your insurance. Yes, you will be lying to a doctor, but that's how F-ed up our medical care system is.

...Unless you have group insurance, such as through a school/employer, in which case pre-existing conditions should be covered.

...and most community colleges do not offer health insurance. You would probably need to be at a 4-year university, in which case you could take out Federal financial aid to pay for the insurance. Besides that, I'm in complete agreement our medical system is a mess...our priorities are all backward and upside down.

for those companies that have benefits that cover it, have friend add you as "partner" to friend's health plan.

Skulles answer got red, but that might be the only route here.

When I returned to college for a degree, I attended 2 colleges and neither offered a health insurance plan. I live in Indiana where there is a state system in place, but funding has run out and they are no longer accepting new members. Private insurance is very costly and the clinics for those who are poor aren't just anyone-walk-in in most locations.

So a visit to the ER isn't as dumb as it may seem. Hospitals DO work with you on billing and will make a payment plan. Even if you find yourself paying less than the agreed upon monthly amount, as long as you pay monthly, you'll likely be okay with their billing department.

Just wait, the government is going to take care of everything very soon, then you won't have to worry about working at a job that provides health insurance.

Skulles said: You can go to the emergency room. They cant turn you away there. You can also pay the bill back in very small weekly increments.

this is a good way to really get screwed on the bill.

Go to an Urgent Care facility. They accept walk-in patients. Cost and wait-time should be less than the emergency room.

heiNey said: Does anyone know what programs illegal immigrants apply for


Swivelguy said: If you acquire some sort of insurance before seeing a doctor, whatever you do, don't say anything about your pain starting on a date prior to the start of your insurance. Yes, you will be lying to a doctor, but that's how F-ed up our medical care system is.

do you know that health care companies have access to doctors' notes in medical records so they can do "audits". So much for HIPAA...

umcsom said: Skulles said: You can go to the emergency room. They cant turn you away there. You can also pay the bill back in very small weekly increments.

this is a good way to really get screwed on the bill.


there are many hospitals that are more than willing to work with low-income and the uninsured. Yeah, you could get screwed, but maybe not. Seriously, OP, get to the doctor. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Serious problems sometimes first show up as "pain".

What state are you in OP, this information could be useful.

thanks for all the replies. my cc doesnt offer any health insurance plan, just the enrollment into the school health services, which im sure wont help me in this case.

i forgot to mention im in California.

the reason i brought up illegal immigrants is because, well, they get a lot of benefits and i figure if they can get them, why can't i, right? so whatever programs they qualify for, i should be able to qualify for.

Just go to your local emergency room without any ID and say:
No habla ingles?
and just keep repeating:
Me duele la espalda.

I would recommend seeing a Chiropractor, especially for a back problem. They're usually a lot cheaper than hospital, ER, other doctor, and probably more effective too. I went to a chiropractice school clinic and it was only $18 a visit, after a $45 xray, and while it may add up depending on how severe your pain is and how frequently they recommend you to come in, it might be a good alternative to look into. Back pain usually means you have some nerve/spinal problem, and while I'm no doctor so don't quote me on this, going to a regular doctor who only prescribe some pain medication that would only get you hook on them in the long run is probably not a good long term solution.

heiNey said: thanks for all the replies. my cc doesnt offer any health insurance plan, just the enrollment into the school health services, which im sure wont help me in this case.

i forgot to mention im in California.



How low is your income? Back in the 70's California had something called Medi-Cal. They would give you a sheet of stamps which would be used for medical/dental issues. Doctors were paid by the state through this program. You would have to be poor but you could be in college without support from your parents, (i.e. independent student with student loans and pell grants). If you qualified for Food Stamps, you qualifed for this medical/dental free plan. I'd check to see if that still exists.

mikeh76 said: heiNey said: thanks for all the replies. my cc doesnt offer any health insurance plan, just the enrollment into the school health services, which im sure wont help me in this case.

i forgot to mention im in California.



How low is your income? Back in the 70's California had something called Medi-Cal. They would give you a sheet of stamps which would be used for medical/dental issues. Doctors were paid by the state through this program. You would have to be poor but you could be in college without support from your parents, (i.e. independent student with student loans and pell grants). If you qualified for Food Stamps, you qualifed for this medical/dental free plan. I'd check to see if that still exists.

medi-cal

city/county hospital

Call the local hospitals and ask if they have an indigent program, all costs are covered under this program, even meds and followup visits.

check into the hospitals Foundation programs. I know someone that had back surgery. The hospital waived it's fee. My husband waived anesthesia fee and the surgeon waived it as some kind of "goodwill" case. I'm sure there are some other costs, but these would be the big three.

Does your school have a health clinic? There, you can see a physician or nurse practitioner and get x-rays, usually for a small fee, like $10.


ninjaman said: http://www.quickhealth.com/service.htm

Anything like this in Ohio?

I have a family member who is unemployed and going to school and her county gives free medical\ cheap(bills were like ~20 visit with income) depending on income. Call your county hospital and see what programs they have

If you go to the county hospital or the hospital with the county contract in California, you can do the paperwork to get reduced or free medical care, depending on your income level. It's called MIA (for Medically Indigent Adult), and should be available to you. You will have to provide proof of income and some other paperwork, but it could be worth it. I myself go to the health food store and buy Curamin, found out about it here at FW, and I LOVE the stuff. A little spendy, but worth it (about $35 for a bottle of 60).

I completely agree with adieuminusa! I would go to a chiropractor before ANY Dr. for back pain!!! I trust them more and they will fix and treat the problem not just treat the symptoms! In the long run they will be cheaper and you will be pain free sooner!

Walgreens is offering free visits at some of their in store clinics for the unemployed & uninsured. You might give them a call and see if you have one near you.

ok thanks for all the responses. a doc on FW told me to take some ibuprofen for 10 days and see if it goes away. if it doesn't help, ill try the Walgreens, quickhealth and county hospital suggestions.

luckylu said: ninjaman said: http://www.quickhealth.com/service.htm

Anything like this in Ohio?


Some WalMart's have these types of places. They only have optical in my area but I heard they have medical in others.

try this ... you can find the clinics near you

http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

luckylu said: ninjaman said: http://www.quickhealth.com/service.htm

Anything like this in Ohio?
link

heiNey said: ok thanks for all the responses. a doc on FW told me to take some ibuprofen for 10 days and see if it goes away. if it doesn't help, ill try the Walgreens, quickhealth and county hospital suggestions.

Sorry to red your conclusion, but it seems kind of stupid. (Disclamer I am not a doctor /Disclamer) You have recurring back pain that you have had for a while. It comes and goes but this time it is lingering. This does not sound good. Instead of taking a pain killer for 10 days, you really need to see a doctor some way. Did you have a family doctor when you were younger? Or a doctor you went to previously when you had insurance? (I'm assuming) I would suggest calling them up and explaining your situation. Say you need a check up and possibly an X ray, but you can only pay 50 upfront, and $50 a month later. Doctors are people too and if the first one rejects you, try another one. Be firm about how much you can pay and explain that situation. Don't just take the pills and wait it out, you might find out you are on the verge of very serious problems.

Remember that advice (even from FW doctors or lawyers) is worth the price you paid for it, in this case free.

GreyRabbit said: heiNey said: ok thanks for all the responses. a doc on FW told me to take some ibuprofen for 10 days and see if it goes away. if it doesn't help, ill try the Walgreens, quickhealth and county hospital suggestions.

Sorry to red your conclusion, but it seems kind of stupid. (Disclamer I am not a doctor /Disclamer) You have recurring back pain that you have had for a while. It comes and goes but this time it is lingering. This does not sound good. Instead of taking a pain killer for 10 days, you really need to see a doctor some way. Did you have a family doctor when you were younger? Or a doctor you went to previously when you had insurance? (I'm assuming) I would suggest calling them up and explaining your situation. Say you need a check up and possibly an X ray, but you can only pay 50 upfront, and $50 a month later. Doctors are people too and if the first one rejects you, try another one. Be firm about how much you can pay and explain that situation. Don't just take the pills and wait it out, you might find out you are on the verge of very serious problems.

Remember that advice (even from FW doctors or lawyers) is worth the price you paid for it, in this case free.


i agree. many people have referred back pain from a problem that has absolutely nothing to do with a back, some conditions can be made worse with loads of pain killers

Happened to me once, turned out to be my shoes. Some people have an foot arch & some shoes don't have arch support. Wearing the same shoes are you?

I do think that you should treat this seriously, and see a doctor if this 10 day trial with the ibuprofin doesn't cure you. You can't gamble with your back.

However, be careful getting a pre-existing condition on your medical record - it won't go away and could hurt your insurance coverage ever after.

If you aren't an illegal alien, don't try to portray yourself as one - I think they are doing stings on this, at least I read about a big operation in Florida on this issue. If you are an illegal alien though, there must be programs that exist out there for medical care...

Be careful with the ibuprofin - as I related in a thread in the "off topic" forum, one day 2 weeks ago I took a high but not outrageously high dose of ibuprofin for severe pain, and it gave me tinnitus (ringing in the ears) which still has not gone away. I also don't have health insurance, so I researched this on the internet and I was shocked to learn that 1-3% of ibuprofin users will get tinnitus from using ibuprofin, and sometimes this hearing damage can occur after a single use (not just with a long, built-up course of taking the medicine). So be moderate in your doses if you are going to take it for 10 days straight. I think there should be a lot more publicity about this horrible side effect of NSAID drugs.

My state has a medical insurance program for people below a certain income level (and it's not a bad cutoff - pretty generous, in my opinion -- and I mean that in an approving way), but I saw somewhere that there is a big waiting list to get that insurance, like a year. It would not hurt to look up your state's government website and see what medical programs they offer to unemployed and low-income people.

You could also call your county / city government. Surely they have general "help" telephone lines and things like that.

Are there any religious organizations or charities that offer free or cheap medical care? Maybe you could do internet searches on some of these terms.

I personally would go to an MD before a chiropractor.

If you are in Calif, is there a medical clinic in Mexico that you could go to, in order to have a cheaper fee and to avoid having the doctor visit be put on your American medical (pre-existing condition) files?

Good luck and take care of yourself.

adieuminusa said: I would recommend seeing a Chiropractor, especially for a back problem. They're usually a lot cheaper than hospital, ER, other doctor, and probably more effective too. I went to a chiropractice school clinic and it was only $18 a visit, after a $45 xray, and while it may add up depending on how severe your pain is and how frequently they recommend you to come in, it might be a good alternative to look into. Back pain usually means you have some nerve/spinal problem, and while I'm no doctor so don't quote me on this, going to a regular doctor who only prescribe some pain medication that would only get you hook on them in the long run is probably not a good long term solution.

+1

I used to have muscle spams in my back off and on and I'm pretty young so it was unusual. I went to see a chiropractor just to get a general adjustment (wasn't feeling pain at the time) and he literally cracked my back and neck. I felt better afterward but in my case, I came to the conclusion that I had a weak back and I was reinjuring it once or twice a year.

I started stretching my back (the chiropractor recommended this), doing situps/pushups, and lifting weights. My back hasn't hurt in a long time now which is the most important thing to me - the fact that I look better too is just an added bonus.

Good luck to the OP: I hope you get this sorted out. Hopefully it's nothing major, and I suggest SLOWLY getting in the habit of stretching and exercising to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.

Skipping 15 Messages...
I too say 'No' to the chiropractor route for anyone with undiagnosed back pain (I'm waiting for flames - bring 'em on)
Urgent care is a good way to go...ER bills are too high for primary care. Not worth it (unless it's a true emergency, of course).
Call the Department of Health - they do sliding scale for pregnancy, pediatric well visits, and STDs. Give it a try.
If you're having any numbness, tingling, or incontinence, do not ignore, and go to ER.

Good luck. Health care is expensive



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