Accessing health care without insurance

More people are finding themselves without health insurance. Many also have little in savings to pay for health care costs. To compensate, people stop taking their medicine or take it less often than prescribed. Some people stop getting medical care.

If you face such a situation, there are things you can do to get medical care and medicines.

Access to medical care

Are you currently living without health insurance? Are you unable to afford medical care? If so, these steps can help:

Financial assistance for prescription medicine

If you cannot afford your medicine, you should:

  • Be honest with your dermatologist about your situation. Your dermatologist might be able to help by giving you drug samples. Note: Some hospitals and other institutions prohibit this practice.
  • Find out whether you can get help through a drug-assistance program. These programs offer medicines (for free or at lower cost) to the uninsured who cannot afford their medicines. If you need help paying for prescriptions, visit these websites:
    • NeedyMeds: Provides links to patient-assistance programs, drug coupons and government programs.

Financial assistance for skin disease

The following are some organizations that offer financial assistance:

Free health screenings

                A dermatologist examines a young woman at a skin cancer screeningScreenings can find disease early when treatment often leads to a cure.

Are you delaying health screenings due to costs? If you lack health insurance, you can still get screenings.

The American Academy of Dermatology offers free skin cancer screenings to everyone. Here are links to free medical screenings, including skin cancer screenings, that are open to everyone:

  • Free skin cancer screenings: Open to everyone regardless of income. Screenings offered year-round, but most occur in the spring.
  • Free testing: Cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, bone density and body mass index: Free health testing is offered nationwide.
  • Free kidney health test: These tests are offered to anyone 18 years of age or older.

If you need follow-up medical care after a screening, financial assistance may be available.

How to find local screenings

Health screenings are not always promoted. Another way to find a local health screening is to call your hospital and ask to speak with a social worker. Social workers are familiar with free and low-cost screenings in the area.

Healthy lifestyle can ease stress

Going without health insurance can be stressful. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your stress level.

You do not have to join a health club or spend money on costly foods and supplements. Budget-friendly ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.
  • Cook healthy meals at home.
  • If you are overweight, lose weight by cutting back on calories.
  • Exercise by taking a walk every evening after dinner.
  • Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by wearing long sleeves, pants and a wide-brimmed hat when you go outdoors during daylight.
  • If you use tanning beds or sun lamps, stop.
  • Connect with others who are facing similar challenges.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk for disease. It also can help you feel well and add years to your life.

Links to the above websites are for informational purposes only. These links do not represent an endorsement and/or recommendation by either the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) or its members. The Academy offers these links as additional resources that may help people find affordable ways to obtain the medical care and medicines they need.

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