Where to Go For Emergency Room When You Don’t Have Insurance
If you are one of the almost 50 million Americans who, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences, do not have health insurance, you may hesitate to visit an emergency room. The services offered by emergency rooms may be quite costly compared to a visit to other health facilities, and without a health insurance cover, paying for them may be an uphill task. Still, there are times when you urgently need to seek medical care. So where do you go?
The first option that comes to mind is for you to go to an emergency room anyway. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labour Act (EMTALA) stipulates that all persons are entitled to urgent medical treatment from any health institution, whether they have the means to pay for the service or not. Therefore, you won’t be turned away for seeking emergency treatment from an emergency room just because you are uninsured. Having said that, it is still important to examine how an emergency room compensates for the bills incurred by those without medical cover and why it may be important for you to get one as soon as you can.
Who pays for the emergency room bills of the uninsured?
Now that you know you can walk into any emergency room in the United States and get emergency treatment, it is important to know how the facility recovers all this money. The fact is, if emergency rooms were to provide their services for free to all the people without insurance, they would be in a financial crisis. Therefore, many emergency rooms recover their money in three ways:
- By charging the already insured
Patients who have health insurance usually get startled by the high bills charged by emergency rooms. Often, some of them think that the facility has erroneously stated the bill. What many people don’t know is that the high bill is meant to cater for a percentage of the payment that those that are unable to cater for a health insurance cover incur whenever they visit an emergency room. This is why, provided you are jobless, orphaned, aged, disabled or in any way hindered from paying for a health insurance cover you shouldn’t hesitate to visit an emergency room when the situation calls for since part of your bill has already been catered for by someone else.
- By charging cash
A significant number of those that are uninsured have the ability to pay in cash. These include people with a really good income and those in average jobs. If you can afford to pay emergency room bills without breaking your bank balance, then you need not to worry about the astronomical bills that are often charged for these services. For many people, however, paying out of their pockets is a difficult task. The situation becomes frustrating for the healthcare providers, too, since though they are obligated by law to provide emergency care, they still need patients to pay their bills so that the emergency rooms can continue providing their services to other patients. You are better off getting an insurance cover if you have the means to do so to avoid becoming stranded by a huge hospital bill after getting emergency treatment.
- By following up on the underprivileged patients
Before you get emergency treatment, the medical provider will first determine whether it is really necessary. Upon confirming the same, they will provide it to ensure your life is safe. In case the reason you are uninsured is because you are not able to do so owing to your financial situation, they will note your bill somewhere and follow up on whether you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. If you are qualified, the emergency room will take measures to have the bill settled. If you do not qualify, they will increase the amounts charged on those already insured. The last option is to write off the bills as bad debts.
What other options are available for the uninsured?
No one knows when the need for urgent medical attention may next arise. It pays to have as many options as possible. From visiting a walk-in clinic, a direct health provider, or having a regular primary care doctor, you should always have someone to call on for prompt medical attention when the situation calls for it. When visiting an emergency room is the only option you have, the best thing to do is be as sincere as possible about your financial situation. Health care providers are more understanding than you may think and may be willing to offer their services for much less than they usually do for your conditions. Sometimes, doctors may even be willing to waive the medical bill if you honestly cannot afford to pay. For residents of Houston, Bellaire ER Emergency Room offers unrivaled emergency care services at very affordable rates.
While getting emergency room services without health insurance is as easy as walking to ER facility, getting yourself health insurance will allow you enjoy lots of added benefits. Bills incurred after emergency treatment may be shockingly high, but with an insurer, the figures can be renegotiated to protect you from paying too highly. Moreover, Bellaire ER accepts insurance cards from a big number of insurance providers, which makes the process of acquiring quick medical care more hassle-free. However, should you find that you need prompt treatment but have no insurance, do not hesitate to walk into one of their offices in Houston.