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I Don’t Have Insurance - What are My Options?    Print Page

Millions of Americans with asthma and allergies have difficulty affording health care, including purchasing prescription medicines.  Many lack health insurance and simply do not have the money to pay for the medicines and access to physicians they need.

Insurance Coverage Options

You or your child may be eligible for:

  • A government program such as Medicaid or Medicare at little or no cost. Visit www.medicaid.gov or www.cms.hhs.gov or call your state’s local social services office for details.A state insurance programs for infants, children and teens, 1-877-kids-now (1-877-543-7669) www.insurekidsnow.gov 
  • For other state insurance programs.  Visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners webpage here and click on your state on the map for more information. 
  • COBRA Continuation coverage, if you had health insurance coverage within the last 18 months through your own or your spouse’s private employer and the employer has at least 50 workers.  You pay the plan’s full premium plus a fee.  Contact the employer for more details.

Find a Health Center

Federally-funded health centers care for you, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Health centers provide

  • checkups when you're well
  • treatment when you're sick
  • complete care when you're pregnant
  • immunizations and checkups for your children
  • dental care and prescription drugs for your family
  • mental health and substance abuse care if you need it

Health centers are in most cities and many rural areas. Visit http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx, type in your address and click the 'Find Health Centers' button to find health centers near you.

Prescription Financial Assistance Programs

Patient assistance programs have helped many receive free or discounted medicines, but many more still need help.  To address this unmet need, multiple coalitions of pharmaceutical research companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations, and community groups have come together to form different prescription and financial resource groups to help patients who lack the coverage they need through the public or private program that they currently have. For more information, and to see a list of all these programs with contact information, please click here.

Hospital Financial Assistance Programs

Some hospitals have financial assistance programs for patients in need.  To qualify for this type of assistance, you typically must apply and demonstrate financial need based upon your income.   Some hospitals offer a financial aid discount, based on a sliding scale, for patients whose total family income ranges from 0% to 400% of the federal poverty guidelines.  Patients who receive help may be asked to pay only a part of or, in some cases, none of the amount they owe.   To find the 2012 poverty guidelines for your state, visit the US Department of Health & Human Services website http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/12poverty.shtml

Discounts for patients without health insurance may also be available.  Some hospitals provide a 35% discount off hospital charges.  The guidelines used to determine eligibility for free or reduced services are based on family income levels.  Ask your doctor to direct you to the financial assistance department within your hospital to learn more about the options available to you. 

Special Notes: 

  • Many hospitals will not discount services that have already been charged to you.
  • If a hospital offers free or reduced costs for services, this offer only applies to services provided by the hospital, not other providers who might care for you while you are hospitalized.  You may receive bills that are not discounted from an anesthesia group, emergency department doctors, pulmonologists, or other provider groups that care for you during your hospital stay.

 

 
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