Difference Between Insurance and No Insurance (Life After Layoff – Chapter 27)

I am ashamed to say that it has been four months and I still haven’t gotten any health insurance for myself.  However, up until today, I have not needed it.  But today I had to bite the bullet and go see a doctor…without health insurance.

What is the difference between a patient who has insurance versus one that doesn’t have insurance?  So far, only three things.  First is the wait time.  I went to a walk-in clinic today and I’ve been waiting about an hour and a half so far to be brought back to see a doctor.  But, considering the fact that I walked in around 12:00pm, I’m not very upset about the wait.

The next difference I see is that the doctor visit will be $130 if there are no test preformed.  Otherwise it could be $185.  Not great, but not bad.  I use to pay a co-pay of $45 for an out-of-network doctor visit, so it’s not unbelievably expensive.  Besides, the amount of one month insurance premium could cost me more than that.  Plus, this is the first place I tried, I might be able to get a better price if I shop around.

The other difference I have noticed is that when you sign in, you give the front desk your drivers license to get scanned.  However, it appears that your license is also used as collateral for your payment.  Because they are holding it until my doctor visit is over.  Which makes sense.  A person is not going to walk out on the tab if the doctor’s office has possession of your driver’s license.

So far, these are the only differences I have noticed.  Of course, I haven’t seen a doctor yet.  But if this is the only difference between having and not having health insurance, then this isn’t too painful.  The biggest hit will probably come when I have to buy some prescriptions.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I wanted to remove the myth that being sick without insurance is a death sentence.  Yes, I know I need to get health insurance for myself.  Yes, I worry about the day when I am in need to go to the hospital with a very expensive, life threatening situation.  But at the same time, I have been lucky so far that I have not needed to visit a doctor until now. 

Although I will need to get health insurance before this year is up, I can atleast breath a sigh of relief that I can afford to see a doctor today without insurance and not have to get a personal loan to pay for it.  Yes, I am having to take more time out of my day waiting, but I have the time to kill.

By the way, while I shoot down these myrhs about life without health insurance, I have one more thing to point out.  The patients that are sharing the waiting area space with me are your average Joe.  They aren’t people that look scary or need a bath.  They are just like me, dressed casual with normal looking ailments.  I don’t feel like I’m on skid row, sitting next to a crazy homeless guy that talks to imaginary people.  I look around and see the same sort of people waiting in this doctor’s office that I would see at my old doctor’s office.  So being a sick person without insurance does not mean you have been placed on a lower level of the food chain.  It just means that you might have to wait longer and pay more for your healthcare, but you are still the same human being you were with insurance.

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