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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Medical care for the Uninsured: A Resource

For the first time in over eight years I have adequate medical coverage. However, about the time I began Medicare, my husband, a newly diagnosed diabetic, lost his exceptional and affordable medical insurance. Well, we almost had adequate medical care for both of us. Fortunately, there are two excellent free clinics in our area, but if he needed to be hospitalized….

Despite tight money there are options for anyone without medical insurance. PLEASE do not neglect your health by not having appropriate checkups! Look for your state's free/low cost medical care and if you have a particular condition, search for help with that. For example, if you have a history of breast, colon, or prostate cancer, or any other medical condition there are organizations dedicated to those issues. I found it more useful to search for free screenings in a particular area or state, Seattle, WA for example.

BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER

http://ww5.komen.org
Directs you to sites that can help you, particularly if you have a diagnosis of breast cancer.

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp
Another good search site for help. Click on "Find a Screening Provider."

http://www.plannedparenthood.org
Does breast and cervical cancer screening. This is where I got all my "well-woman" exams for the last 8 years. Check also if they provide free/low cost mammography. Go to "Find a Health Center" and type your zip code.

PROSTATE CANCER

zerocancer.org/events/free-testing
This is a mobile clinic. Go to "Free Testing" at the top of the page. Check their schedule for a stop in your area.

http://www.prostateconditions.org
Go to the bottom of the page for screening site locator.

http://www.pcf.org
Good information about prostate cancer. Go to "Understanding Prostate Cancer" and then to "Helpful Resources." There are several useful connections there.

COLON CANCER

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/screening/
Look for screening sites in or near your city.

MEDICAL CARE COVERAGE


**http://freeclinics.us/clinics/search
This is the most useful site for free clinics I've found so far.

http://www.healthfinder.gov/findservices/
Go to "search" at the top of the page and type what you are interested in such as free dental or medical services.

http://www.rxassist.org/patients/res-free-low-cost-healthcare.cfm Another great site for finding affordable health care options

http://www.coverageforall.org
Look for help in your state: http://www.coverageforall.orG/our_services.htm#apps

http://www.healthfinder.gov/findservices/
Look for Community health centers about half way down the page. These are often low/no cost clinics.

INSURING KIDS

http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/ What is CHIP? The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides free or low-cost health coverage for more than 7 million children up to age 19. CHIP covers U.S. citizens and eligible immigrants. CHIP Is Available in Every State. In general,children in families with incomes up to $44,100/year (for a family of four) are likely to be eligible for coverage. In many states, families can have higher incomes and their children can still qualify. What does CHIP pay for? Each state designs its own CHIP program, including eligibility, benefits, premiums and cost-sharing, and application and renewal procedures. States can decide on the benefits provided under CHIP, but all states cover routine check-ups, immunizations, hospital care, dental care, and lab and x-ray services. Children get free preventive care, but low premiums and other cost-sharing may be required for other services.
To get started, make a free call to 1-877 KIDS NOW (1-877-543-7669). When you call the free and confidential hotline, you’ll be connected directly to someone from your state who will help you apply. Families will need to complete an application and provide some documents. Depending on the state, you can complete the application through the mail, over the phone, or even online.

DENTAL COVERAGE

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth
Mainly a research organization, but provides dental information as well. Go to the bottom of the page to "Related Links" and then to "Finding Dental Care"

http://www.healthfinder.gov/findservices/
Go to "search" at the top of the page and type what you are interested in such as free dental or medical services. You can find dentists here, but check your area for free dental clinics.

Information about medical insurance rate quotes: you likely already know this, but if you don't, many sites offering medical insurance quotes for low income and unemployed are actually regular insurance companies looking for new business. If you see offers of several medical insurance quotes at once, this is not likely to be helpful if you have little or no money. If you post your home address, email address and/or phone number, be prepared to get calls, emails, and/or written material for an indefinite amount of time. I chose my Medicare supplemental insurance plan in April and in November I still get phone calls, snail mail, and email from agents and insurance companies.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

http://www.rxassist.org/patients/res-state-programs.cfm
This site lists the states participating in "drug buying clubs." Several states enter into deals as a group with pharmaceutical companies for better prices. Check your state's official site for information or call the number listed. For Washington State, there was no needs qualification. Your state may be different. This plan is what I (gratefully) used for the last eight years and what my husband uses now.

http://www.rxassist.org/
Looks like a good site for finding assistance programs for prescription drugs. Go to the bottom of the page and click on "Patient Center."

http://www.makoa.org/freemedicine.htm"
Has a huge list of prescription drug assistance possibilities including importing non-controlled prescription drugs from Canada.

Disclaimer about imported drugs: the FDA, due to the current state of their regulations, has taken the position that virtually all shipments of prescription drugs and certain other products imported from a Canadian or other foreign dispensary by a U.S. consumer will violate the law. Many legal experts, however, disagree with this position. These legal experts have observed that such importation is permitted under federal law as practiced. The FDA itself provides guidance to the public on how to accomplish such importation and no individual has ever been prosecuted by the FDA for importing non-controlled prescription drugs for personal use from a certified member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association.

And lastly: The Affordable Health Care Act may be controversial because of the mandatory participation clause, but please consider this. If my uninsured husband is admitted to the hospital, that hospital will have to wait a long time to be completely re-paid. His hospitalization costs will be passed on to the community making everyone's insurance premiums go up. If he had medical insurance we could afford, everyone's costs could be kept down. Having said that, read this:
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/KnowYourRights/KnowYourEmergencyRoomRights.aspx

www.healthcare.gov/law/timeline
A descriptive timeline of the benefits provided by the Affordable Health Care Act.

http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/07/preventive-services-list.html
This site shows specific benefits for preventive health care for everyone in your family.

If you know of other resources, please share and I will add them to this blog.
Thanks!

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