What to Do if You Can’t Afford to See a Doctor?

Medical expenses have become quite a problem for many Americans applying for Social Security disability benefits. About 44 million Americans do not have health insurance and the thought of getting sick or injured can be a scary one. Medical records are critically important for disability applicants, as they are key evidence the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses when determining whether or not an applicant is disabled.

Visiting a doctor without health insurance can be expensive; However, there are more options than you think available. Next time your disability causes you to take a trip to the doctor, try one of these options before resorting to an expensive emergency room visit.

Free Clinics
Many cities offer free, discount, and federally-funded clinics. These clinics can provide check-ups, sick treatment, pregnancy care, immunizations, dental care, medication, mental health care, medical tests and screenings, and more. Try looking at the National Associate of Free Clinics, The Health Resources and Services Administration, or Remote Area Medical to find a clinic in your area.

Ask for Hospital Discounts
If you do spend time in a hospital, there are a few ways to lower the amount of money you have to pay. First, make sure the charges are correct. As many as 80 percent of bills have some sort of mistake. After you’ve made sure the balance is correct, some hospitals offer a prompt pay discount and many offer interest-free payment plans. If none of this is possible for you, some hospitals also offer financial assistance.

Medicaid is state-funded healthcare for low-income families. If you qualify for Medicaid, you will get basic insurance covering doctor’s visits, hospital services, and many more. Premiums and co pays are charged based on the income level, age, disability, and pregnancy status of a person.

Prescription Assistance
There are a lot of programs that offer free or discount medications to low income individuals and families. Some states also offer a subsidiary drug assistance program separate from insurance. Major grocery stores and pharmacies also have similar programs, giving low-income individuals common antibiotics and medicines discounted or free.

Additional Resources