Three ways to see a doctor without health insurance
Finding a primary care doctor and routinely visiting them for annual physical checkups and screenings helps increase your chances for a longer, healthier life. If you don’t have health insurance, seeing a primary care provider may feel like an expense you can’t make. However, skipping out on care could end up costing your wallet—and your health—more down the line.
Here are three quick tips on how to get affordable care when you don’t have health insurance.
1. Find a community health center or walk-in clinic
Community health centers and walk-in clinics tend to offer more affordable healthcare than visiting a direct primary care doctor. These options are sometimes even free, especially when shopping for preventive screenings or important vaccinations.
Community health centers help increase access to care by removing obstacles like:
- High costs
- Lack of insurance
- Travel distance
Some health centers operate on a “sliding scale” when it comes to fees and payment. This means, based on your income, you may be eligible for even more affordable care. Find a community health center or walk-in clinic in your area by searching the directory on freeclinics.com.
2. Take advantage of telemedicine
If traveling for healthcare is too difficult or costly, you may want to consider seeing a doctor virtually. Telemedicine—or telehealth—involves linking with a primary care provider or healthcare professional online. Recently, the U.S. government lifted several restrictions on telehealth, allowing for easier access that also expanded telehealth’s use for mental health services.
Many healthcare professionals can offer virtual primary care, and the fees for a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner may be less. Check online and in local directories for more information.
3. Purchase wellness tests
Seeing a healthcare provider sooner rather than later is important, but it’s also possible to get affordable care like wellness checks and screenings without a visit. You can purchase wellness tests, the results of which can help give you an accurate picture of your overall health.
Getting routinely screened for health concerns is important for your overall health. Certain test results for more specific care should be reviewed with a healthcare professional. While you can get tests that can help detect colon cancer without a colonoscopy, you would want to share those results with a doctor.
We’ve compiled a list of important screenings based on age and gender—check it out to understand how a doctor would be screening you with regular checkups.
See if you qualify for Medicaid
Assistance programs like Medicaid exist to make it easier to get affordable healthcare. You may be eligible, depending on where you live. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state, and most states have expanded access to more low-income adults. Eligibility usually comes down to four main factors:
- Household income
- Family Size
Answer a few questions on HealthCare.gov to determine your eligibility for Medicaid. While you’re there, you can also find out if you’re eligible for affordable healthcare via cheaper health insurance options.
Regular screenings and tests help give you the most important tool in improving your well-being: information. Don’t wait on your primary care—count on yourself to take charge today.