Getting medical treatment if you are uninsured

If you are uninsured, getting medical care for everyday illnesses and routine checkups can be difficult.  If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, whether it be in a car wreck, a fall or other personal injury, getting the medical care you need to treat your injuries can also be difficult without health insurance.

Immediately after an accident, an injured person is often taken to the hospital emergency room. You may go in an ambulance or be driven by a friend or loved one. You will receive treatment by the ambulance and the emergency room regardless of whether you have health insurance.  What happens next is often more difficult if you are uninsured. The emergency room may advise you to seek follow up care with a specialist.  You may call the office of the physician to whom the emergency room referred you only to be told they will not see you unless you have health insurance.

Many people assume that since the accident or injury was not their fault, they should not have to pay for the treatment they need.  In reality, the doctor or therapist you need to see may require payment at the time you are seen, regardless of who or what caused your injury.

If this happens to you, there are several things you can do to try and obtain the treatment you need:

  1. Ask the doctor to whom you have been referred if they can recommend another physician who may provide the kind of treatment you need to those without health insurance.
  2. Contact the emergency room where you were initially seen and ask for another referral to a practice that provides treatment to the uninsured.
  3. Ask your friends and family members who may have been in similar situations where they received medical treatment.  There are a few private medical practices that will provide treatment to those who are uninsured.  They may withhold collection of their bill until your case is resolved if there is a personal injury claim pending.
  4. Call the financial offices of large hospitals in your area.  Many of them have financial assistance programs for the uninsured.  If you qualify, you may be able to receive treatment at a reduced cost, or without having to pay copayments up-front.
  5. As a last resort, return to the emergency room for a serious injury if you cannot find another way to get the treatment you need.

Getting the treatment you need to recover from your injuries is the most important thing you can do. The attorneys at Allen & Allen can help you understand how to navigate complicated health care and health insurance systems so you can focus on your recovery.

About The Author: Bridget Long is an experienced trial attorney focusing her practice on personal injury law at Allen & Allen in Petersburg, Virginia. She has handled cases involving car accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, and has litigated cases throughout Virginia on behalf of clients injured due to the negligence of others. She is an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and has been named a “Super Lawyer” in Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine for the past seven years. Bridget is passionate about defending the rights of the injured.