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Doctors For Patients Without Insurance

writtenByWritten by: Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer is a contributing health writer who has been researching and writing health content with PlushCare for 3 years. She is passionate about bringing accessible healthcare and mental health services to people everywhere.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Ken Cosby M.D.
Reviewer

Ken Cosby M.D.

Dr. Ken Cosby received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, DC) and completed his research post-doc work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health including the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

April 15, 2021 Read Time - 7 minutes

What to Do if You Need Medical Care Without Insurance

If you don’t have health insurance, getting medical care can feel daunting and expensive, but there are more healthcare options for patients without insurance than you might think.

Some medical providers offer services for individuals without health insurance. Healthcare Bills can often be negotiated, discounts are available, and federal funding can help keep healthcare at low-cost even for the uninsured.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

How Much Is a Doctor’s Visit Without Health Insurance?

Without health insurance, the average doctor office visit costs between $300–$600.

However, this number will vary depending on the services and treatment needed, as well as the type of doctor’s office.

You might be wondering, “how can I find cheap doctors near me without insurance?” or “how can I find an affordable doctor’s office near me?” By using some of the tips below, you can minimize your medical costs, even without insurance, to ensure you don’t break the bank trying to stay healthy.

How to Get a Lower Price on Medical Bills

There are a few questions you can ask before your visit that can help reduce medical costs.

Ask if a facility has a “sliding scale” to help lower-income patients. Sliding scales help match your medical bills to your income level. If the healthcare facility does not offer sliding-scale fees, asking “how much is a doctor’s visit?” can help you ensure you’ll be able to cover the cost of treatment.

You can also ask for generic medications, charity-care options, or if they have discounts for patients paying cash (i.e., paying with cash can reduce the cost by as much as 90%).

Additionally, negotiating medical bills before or after the visit can help make medical expenses more manageable.

Medical coding errors are surprisingly common and it is always worth double-checking your bills.

You can do this yourself or get a professional to do it for a fraction of what they save you (i.e.,approximately 15% to 30%).


Read: Copay vs Coinsurance


Health Savings Accounts

You can deposit money into a health savings account to help prepare for the unexpected.

Many employers offer a matching contribution and all money put into these accounts is tax-free (when used for medical expenses).

Taxes are roughly 30% of our income, so using a health savings account is like saving 30% on your medical costs (or 60% if you get a match from your employer).

Going to the Right Facility

Medical costs vary depending on what type of facility you go to. If you’re searching for “cheap doctors near me,” it’s always important to read reviews and make sure doctors in your area have an up-to-date license.

If you are paying out-of-pocket for your medical care, it is extremely important to know what constitutes emergency care vs. urgent care vs. primary care. You want to get appropriate care with an appropriate bill.

Emergency Rooms

Federal law requires all emergency rooms to provide care to patients who come in. This means they cannot turn you away if you are uninsured, but it does not mean that emergency room care is free.

Emergency room care is the most expensive type and should only be used when absolutely necessary.

Consider going to an emergency room if you are faced with a medical event that poses a threat to a person’s life or limb.

What if I Don’t Have Insurance but Have a Medical Emergency?

The best thing to do in a moment of a medical emergency is to go to an emergency room, even if you or a loved one is uninsured. When possible, inform the staff that you are uninsured and inquire about lower-cost options.

Urgent Care

Urgent care facilities are useful for health issues that need to be addressed in a timely manner but do not necessarily require emergency care. 

Can you wait several hours or more, but not long enough for a scheduled office visit with your primary care provider? If “yes” is your answer, then you should consider seeking urgent care.

Primary Care

When scheduling appointments with a primary care physician, it can take weeks or months to get you into their next opening. During this time, you can call around and ask about options for uninsured patients.


Read: Urgent Care vs Primary Care vs. Emergency Care


Community Clinics

Some health clinics receive federal funding and provide low-cost or free health services. The most common medical services provided by these clinics include reproductive health care (e.g., STD testing, contraceptives, etc.), and mental health care (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.).

Can You Go to a Free Clinic Without Insurance?

Yes, you can go to a free clinic without insurance. Free clinics provide health services for little to no cost. Each clinic works differently to meet the medical needs of their community. 

For some low-income individuals without insurance, free clinics will offer services at no cost to the patient. Others may charge a low fee for treatment, but this is often cheaper in comparison to other healthcare facilities. 

Call your community clinic ahead of your appointment and ask what you will be charged.

What If There’s Not a No-Insurance Clinic Near Me?

If you can’t find any no-insurance clinics in your area, try asking community clinics and local doctor’s offices about sliding-scale fees. Depending on the clinic, you may be able to access everything from birth control to mental health care. 

Even if you don’t have health insurance, there are likely several healthcare facilities that offer sliding-scale fees available in your area.

Can Doctors Refuse to Treat Patients Without Insurance?

No, doctors cannot refuse to treat patients if you do not have insurance. However, they can refuse treatment if you’re unable to pay for it.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) ensures that all patients with or without insurance that are suffering from an emergency condition must be treated until that condition is stabilized.

With that said, if your condition is not an emergency and you are seeking treatment from a private doctor, the doctor has the right to refuse treatment if you are unable to pay for the services.

What If There’s Not a No-Insurance Doctor Near Me?

If there’s not a no-insurance doctor in your area, scheduling an online appointment with a doctor can help you receive affordable, quality medical care with or without insurance.

Seeing a doctor online for both urgent and primary care is a great way to keep medical costs down. At PlushCare, you can receive treatment from an online doctor with or without insurance.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

How Much Is a Doctor’s Visit With an Online Doctor?

With no health insurance, online appointments at PlushCare will cost just $99. This can save you hundreds of dollars compared to an in-person visit at a physical medical facility.

PlushCare doctors can help you with most of your primary and urgent care needs. We have same day appointments available and you can get world-class treatment from the comfort of your own home at an affordable price.

During your online session, you will go over your medical history, symptoms, and treatment plan.

The doctor will do their best to recommend affordable treatment options for uninsured patients.

If the doctor is unable to treat you online, your appointment is totally free.

Telemedicine apps like PlushCare use modern technology to help people of all income levels have equal access to quality healthcare.

Try it out today and book an appointment here.


Read More About Doctors For Patients Without Insurance


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Debt.org. Doctor Visit Costs. Accessed October 7, 2019 at https://www.debt.org/medical/doctor-visit-costs/

American College of Emergency Physicians. EMTALA Fact Sheet. Accessed April 2, 2020 at https://www.acep.org/life-as-a-physician/ethics–legal/emtala/emtala-fact-sheet/

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Regulations and Guidance. Accessed April 2, 2020 at https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EMTALA 

URAC. Telehealth Offers Cost Savings. Accessed April 2, 2020 at https://www.urac.org/blog/telehealth-offers-cost-savings-opportunities-hospitals-and-patients

Zibulewsky J. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA): what it is and what it means for physicians. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2001 Oct;14(4):339-46. Accessed Aril 2,v2020 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305897/

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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