Community Health Services – Choices For The Uninsured

Based on reasonable estimates from health research organizations, each year, millions of Americans lose their health care when they lose their jobs. Many of them regain coverage when they take another job. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2007, 235.4 million Americans did have health insurance. This figure leaves only about 15 percent of U.S. residents without healthcare. Not many have been able to set aside money in a dedicated medical savings account to cover healthcare expenses. Those who are left to cover the costs on their own frequently turn to community health services and other health facilities to help fill the gap.

The Uphill Battle

The average cost of a doctor’s visit always depends on the part of the country where the health facility is located and the type of doctor needed to treat a condition. For example, a trip to see a general practitioner costs anywhere from $95 to $265. If the condition is serious enough to warrant a specialist, the cost rises slightly: $115 to $325. Rheumatologists seem to come in on the lower end of the scale at $91 to $137. Health care providers also tend to publish cash prices but charge a different (higher) amount when billing a patient’s insurance company.

Some of the 15 percent of the nation’s uninsured are uninsured by choice. Health statistics indicate that many of these people are under 34 years old and make over $50,000 annually. Some of them have salaries in the $75,000 range. So affordability is not the issue all the time.

Viable Options

A good number of those who do not have insurance and can be counted among the poor have used hospital emergency rooms for health treatment because they simply have nowhere else to turn. The emergency room has not only been a place for the uninsured, though. People who have Medicaid coverage are often turned away by doctor’s who do not accept this kind of insurance. It is also full of people whose regular doctors have offices that are closed.

Uninsured Americans who happen to belong to some type of professional organization, community organization or a local Chamber of Commerce could possibly get insured if they have membership in one of those organizations. It is group insurance at a discount rate and will unlikely be discontinued for the duration of the organization.

Community Programs

Those who can take advantage of community health services tend to find local nonprofit health care centers that have centralized healthcare for almost any kind of ailment. These centers either base payments on income or charge on fixed low fee to anyone who walks in the door. Patients who cannot pay anything are not often turned away. It is the ideal type of scenario because doctors who work in these facilities tend to be dedicated to patient care rather than the prestige of the job. The payment system brings together patients and capitalizes on those who have any income at all to pay. So, it achieves its goal of ensure all patients have access to care.

Sometimes, an uninsured person who is in need of care may seek more than one of these alternative healthcare paths to help heal themselves. Community health services have done much to take up the slack in the national healthcare system. Rather than leave patients hopeless, it gives them options.