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I am looking for a doctor who is cost effective for people without insurance. Meaning that he/she is not part of the whole insurance money engine and will be practical about the work done. I believe I have a stomach condition and want to get some expedient testing done while avoiding unnecessary expenses. Thank you for any recommendations.
I've heard of medical practices and individual MDs (maybe NPs, too) who have become so fed up with the private health insurance system that they stopped accepting it and just charge, basically, an affordable fee for service patients pay out of pocket for. I presume you readers know what I am talking about ... so my question is, do any of the readers of this list know of any such practices in the East Bay or SFBA? (I'm in Berkeley.) I do not have health insurance (or course I work in health care - there are many RNs without health insurance) and it is near impossible to get an appointment in the FQHC and community health clinics or even Highland's clinics. I would like to find one of these self-pay practices because I think the fees would be affordable - I need primary care, no chronic diseases. It would be great to pay less than $100 for the visit (labs & tests extra of course). Thanks! Anonymous
Your desire to spend less than $100 is not exactly realistic, considering the expenses medical practices have to cover (rent, utilities, staff salaries, malpractice insurance). Even plumbers charge over $100/hour these days -- and they didn't go through the rigors and expense of medical school. Sorry for this rant, but I strongly feel doctors should be fairly compensated. I am sympathetic to all of this because my sister is an internist back east, so I've witnessed her frustrations with running a practice while trying to deliver the best quality service to her patients. - Believer of fair treatment of good doctors
I lost my position six months ago and medical insurance as well. Now I find I'm out of thyroid and that's not good. The HMO will not help as I am not insured with them. People suggested going to a free clinic or the county health agency, but they're completely overloaded because of this terrible economy. I could pay for an office visit, but when I try to talk to doctors they claim they only want someone insured. I know this is a lie because when I bought insurance for my teenagers I couldn't get a doctor for them because every doctor I called in their network ''was not taking new patients'' even though they were listed as otherwise. Does anyone know of a decent authority who could write a simple prescription for thyroid? I rummaged through the cabinets and found an old bottle with 1 refill left from years ago, but I'm worried it too old to refill. Can I refill it anyway? Any advice that isn't more of the ''go to the state'' because it *doesn't work* is greatly appreciated. Stuck in Medical Limbo
1. Call your old doctor that you had before your medicine ran out, if you can't get thru the buzz try to talk to his/her nurse and tell them about your situation, or send a certified letter that needs to be signed for by the doctor. There are probably legal and or ethical considerations that this doctor is required to help you with prescriptions.
2. Call your pharmacy or pharmacies that have refilled your scripts and try to get the old one filled, if you can't tell the main pharmacist your situation - they may have a way to get your script conditionally refilled or provide you some recommendations where to see someone. I have had great help from all Walgreens pharmacies wherever I go. No soap from Longs. People also speak well of Costco Pharmacy.
3. There are internet pharmacies and some have doctors online.
4. You still need to see a doctor, so even though the free clinics suck keep trying to get into one.
5. Emergency room is probably required to see you, go to one with a pharmacy.
6. Partnership for Prescription Assistance: https://form.pparx.org/SelectMedication.php
7. Consider a trip to Canada for ''vacation'' purposes. Medical service is provided for Americans on vacation in Canada. I was easily treated when I was in France.
If other people on this list have ideas please speak up, I am very sure that in these economic times, this kind of health information is something many of us need to know now, have friends/family in this situation, or we may need it.
Please take a serious look at the Health Care legislation in Congress, and call/email your representatives. Nothing is perfect, and for the last 60 years we have been looking at this, if we keep talking about it, another 60 years can fly by. concerned
Otherwise, get on the phone and try to find doctors that don't accept insurance. There are a few and they will cost more. You might have to call 50 doctors, but eventually you could find one. You could start by looking for a women's clinc. Anonymous
just was cut off ex-wife's health insurance. don't want to go back to paying $500/month, as i seem fairly healthy. i have a daughter to raise and would rather go old-school and pay a good health provider when i do get sick (ex-wife still pays insurance for daughter) and will take my chances with catastropic events. any recommendations for such a provider who would also tolerate a patient without much use for most traditional medicine? i know that's asking a lot. we live in central contra costa, but i'd go far, even s.f. if necessary. thanks. d
I would also like to suggest, however, that health insurance plans can be inexpensive when you are young and healthy and are willing to pay a high deductible. Blue shield offers these type of plans, the premium is low, the deductible is high, but you are covered for catastrophic occurances like surgery or hospitalization. Think of it in the same way we think of homeowners insurance which is significantly less expensive than health insurance; you use your homeowners insurance for a fire or robbery, not to change your light bulbs. One of the reasons health insurance is so expensive is that we expect to pay nothing or little out of pocket to see the doctor. You pay for that convenience in huge premiums.
If you need and insurance broker, I can happily recommend Fleming Associates. They are a father son team and will come to meet with you at your convenience. (925) 891-3000 Good luck and good health. Elizabeth L
Does anyone know where to get a tetnus shot, inexpensive, for someone without insurance? We just need the shot and do not want to pay for a physical. Thanks!
I have rarely had health insurance and have found there are some advantages. You can contact specialists of your choice directly and don't need a referral. Plus when you mention you will be paying cash they always have room to see you right away and often the cost is substantially lower than if they had to bill your insurance. Also, some doctors will charge you less just because you ask them to (I mention that I am low income). I found out that an emergency room in Missouri I went to had a sliding scale! I've even bartered for services. You never know unless you ask! Hope this unsolicited advice is useful too. Cheers, Lindsey
A friend of mine, who is self-employed, got a mammogram before she signed up to get insurance. The mammogram results showed a spot even though she cannot feel a lump. We are now worried that she won't be able to get insurance because companies may claim a pre-existing condition. We are afraid she will not be able to pay for treatment. In fact, it took a month for her to even get an appointment (later this month) to see if she has a lump and if so, whether or not it is malignant. Any advice about getting insurance or medical treatment? worried
I need to find a good pediatrician or family doctor for my children. We just moved to California, and we don't have insurance. We are trying to get on Medi-Cal but it is taking a while. I think my daughter may have an ear infection. I made an appointment to see a nurse practitioner from Dr. Winokur's office, but it will cost $125 - $165, which is WAY too much for us.Is this a normal price to pay for someone without insurance? Does anyone know of a good doctor (in the Albany/Berkeley area) who is not so expensive? My daughter has had a history of tubes and ear infections and I can't just let this pass in hopes that it will go away, but on the other hand we are really strapped financially.Help! Josh
There are many options for un- & underinsured families in California. Know that you can always go to Alameda County or Berkeley health department clinics and the financial counselors there will work with you on sliding scale/payment plan basis. They are providers of last resort (w/ some very good docs & NPs) and are obligated to serve everyone regardless of ability to pay. You can go to urgent care tomorrow if need be if she has an ear infection. Berkeley Health Dept. is 644-6489. A.C. Public Health is 628-7600. Oakland Healthy Start 628-7600. Cyfloyd
Second, you may want to contact Bay Area Legal Aid ("BALA") and ask them for help expediting your Medi-Cal application, based on your child's medical history. In Alameda County, the phone number for BALA is (510) 663-4744. In Contra Costa, it's (510) 233-9954. When you first call, be sure to tell the receptionist that you're calling about your child's urgent health problem and a pending Medi-Cal application. Good luck! Ellern
Another option is to try to get into one of the local public health clinics around. I'm sure they would charge you much less than a private practice office. I don't know the names of any off hand but you might call Children's Hospital in Oakland. I believe they have an information and referral line.
By the way, if you do not qualify for MediCal you should apply for the Healthy Families program, which covers low-income families who make too much to qualify for MediCal. Here is the website with information on that program: http://www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov/. Good luck. Hannah
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