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No health insurance? Where to go during the financial crisis

Theresa Jones, RN

Theresa Jones, RN's avatar

Published online: March 02, 2009

Disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and author contributions are found at the end of this article.


As our healthcare crisis continues to rise, there is an increase in the population who are finding difficulty in accessing healthcare.

There are numerous medical emergencies but following are some of the common conditions requiring emergent medical treatment:

TIA (transient ischemic attack) – may produce symptoms of headache, visual disturbances, confusion or disorientation, slurred speech, sudden weakness/numbness on one side of the body which resolves within twenty four hours of onset leaving no residual effects.

Cerebrovascular Accident – stroke- may produce symptoms of severe headache, visual disturbances, confusion or disorientation, slurred speech, sudden weakness/numbness on one side of the body which does not resolve within twenty four hours of onset which may lead to residual effects.

Seizure disorders- seizure activity persisting greater than five minutes or are recurrent and consciousness is not regained

Myocardial Infarction – heart attack- symptoms may include mid-sternal chest pain, discomfort or pressure, pain in the jaw, neck or left arm which may also be accompanied by palpitations, difficulty breathing, nausea and sweating.

Asthma – an acute asthma attack may present with sudden shortness of breath, coughing, audible wheezes, bluish discoloration of the lips and nailbeds.

Abdominal Pain – sudden severe abdominal pain which does not subside within thirty minutes of onset can indicate a serious problem and medical emergency.

Diabetes - medical emergencies can result from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Symptoms of low blood sugar may include cold sweats, dizziness, fainting, confusion, irritability, visual disturbances, seizures and left untreated will result in a coma and death. Symptoms of high blood sugar may include visual disturbances, increased thirst, frequent urination, nausea, fruity breath odor and left untreated can result in the medical emergency diabetic ketoacidosis which can also lead to coma and death.

Accident and Injury/Burns – significant burns from fire, cooking oil or scalding from hot liquids requires immediate medical attention.

As our healthcare crisis continues to rise there is an increased number of the population who are finding difficulty in accessing healthcare. There are programs in most areas that assist those whom are unfortunate enough to find themselves and or their family members without insurance coverage. Hopefully these links will be beneficial in obtaining services at a lower fee or free. We at the Doctor’s Lounge hope that you find the information helpful!

Tips on searching for assistance:

A link provided by the US Department of Health and Human Resources Health Resource and Services Administration “Find a Health Center” can help you locate a health center which is federally funded and will provide care to you even if you have no health insurance. The fee, if one exists, is affordable and based on income. Health Centers provide sick and well visits, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, sick and well visits for children, mental health, substance abuse, dental and prescription assistance. The following link will provide centers for every state in the United States.

Men’s Health Month also has a link that searches can be made by state that offers family health care which includes the name of the center as well as telephone numbers and addresses. ... search.php

Prescription costs can be astronomical! There are options available for every state in the United States. There are many programs that can help reduce the financial strain of prescription medications. There should not be one person who has to make a decision between the cost of medication and necessities. The first link provided requires some assistance from your physician but has hundreds of medications listed.

The Partnership for Assistance Program provides a toll free telephone number and lists prescription assistance programs, a link for free and low cost clinic finders, among other very useful resources. Check it out!

Pharmaceutical companies also offer assistance obtaining prescriptions. All you have to do is type the drug name and manufacturer in your search engine, for example, Lipitor manufacturer and it will show the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Typically located on the side or bottom of the main page is a link and a telephone number to inquire about assistance programs. You can perform this search with any prescription medication!

Note: if you require emergency care and are reluctant to go to the emergency room because of financial concerns DON’T WAIT! Most hospitals have programs to assist those in need. One way to find out if your facility provides a program is by simply calling. Inquire with the billing and social service department. In addition, a list of Hill Burton Facilities obligated to provide free or reduced cost health care can be found at the following link:

Conflict of interest statement

No conflict of interest.

Theresa Jones, RN. No health insurance? Where to go during the financial crisis. Doctors Lounge. Available at: Accessed December 04 2022.

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