Uninsured and have a serious illness

How does a person without medical insurance get help for spinal stenosis?  I’m still able to work at my part-time job, and have been told that I do not need surgery – at least not yet.  I do not have any prospects of getting health insurance.  Thanks for your help.

Standing Tall For Now

Dear Standing Tall For Now,

First, check out whether you can qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. If your condition is disabling, you may qualify.  Visit healthcare.gov to get links to your state’s Medicaid and Medicare disability offices.  Even if you do qualify for these, it will take time to actually get coverage.  So in the meantime, go ahead with the next two steps.

Second, ask your doctor to create a treatment and a payment plan for you. If that does not work — if you cannot afford the payments, for example — ask him to refer you to a clinic that charges on a sliding scale or is free. Check the Consumers for Affordable Health Care’s Health Care Guide for resources in Maine.  You can also find out whether the drugs you are taking are available from the manufacturer at a discounted rate. Do a web search of the manufacturer and drug name; then look for “Patient Assistance” links.

Third, look for a patient advocacy group for people who have spinal stenosis. The National Scoliosis Foundation may be able to help you find care from specialists, as well as point you to other resources.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.