You have just lost your job, started a new business, or don’t get sick often and so you never enroll in your company medical coverage plan. Your former employer offers you Cobra insurance because during your employment you contributed to the group medical plan and therefore, you’re eligible for it. Some time after your job loss you receive a notice of unemployment benefits and wonder how in the world do people survive off of this kind of income? Afterwards, you cringe at the thought of your non-existent or insufficient emergency savings account, take your chances and decide against Cobra. Guess who catches the flu after never getting sick, ever? There go those chances.
We’ve all heard the complaints about the rising healthcare costs in America. I’ve also complained about the outrageous co-pays and deductibles. Even with insurance you can get slammed with disastrous medical bills after a surgery or unforeseen medical crisis. Not trying to take away from the legitimacy behind the need for healthcare reform; I must admit those $10, $25, or even $50 emergency room co-pays are answered prayers to the uninsured.
One emergency room visit landed me a $400 bill from the hospital and a $400 dollar bill from the physician! Oh and that blessed charity care, well apparently it’s up to the physician if he/she will accept it. After the over an hour wait followed by a 10 minute consultation with prescription writing, $800 is absolutely ridiculous. So I had to do some research and trust me this is only the beginning. In New Jersey if you have kids they recommend that you apply for NJ Family Care. As for me, the childless, you have to dig a little deeper. Eventually, I found some resources (I’ve listed them at the bottom of this post), which led me to a healthcare facility that required no insurance and co-pay was based on my income. Needless to say, I will have to write an entire post about my experience as well as a few others experiences dealing with low-costs to free healthcare facilities. Based on my findings alone, I don’t believe I’m alone in saying more help is needed. I want to challenge those who are interested in helping low-income families in the health care sector to: open more facilities, offer better resources, and truly seek out competent and passionate individuals for employment.