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How Can I Get Emergency Care with No Insurance?

People without health insurance may receive government aid for emergency care costs.
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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2014
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Medical care, particularly emergency medical care, can be rather expensive, especially if you do not have health insurance to help cover these costs. In the United States, the majority of emergency rooms are required by law to treat you if you are in need of emergency medical attention. After you are released, however, you will get a bill for the emergency care fees. Most hospitals will allow patients to set up payment arrangements, which allow them to pay a small amount of the bill a little at a time. If you are a low income individual, you may qualify for government or private grants to help offset the cost.

Healthcare costs are very high, and people with no insurance will often delay being treated, even in the event of an emergency. Many uninsured people are often afraid that they will not be able to pay the hospital fees, and some may even be afraid that they will be denied because they are unable to pay. In the United States, however, the government passed a law that guarantees you emergency care with no insurance.

In 1986, the United States government passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Among other things, this law means doctors and nurses must treat you in an emergency medical situation, even if they believe that you are unable to pay. Failure to comply with this law can result in severe penalties for a hospital.

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You must be experiencing a medical emergency to receive emergency care with no insurance. This includes traumatic injuries, severe infections, and labor. In these types of situations, an emergency care unit must treat you, and make sure that you are reasonably healthy enough to leave the hospital. If they are not equipped to handle your situation, you may be transferred to another facility.

After you receive emergency care with no insurance, you will then receive a bill, usually by mail. This bill will often be very expensive. If you are able to pay the full amount of the bill, you are encouraged to do so.

Unfortunately, most uninsured patients are not able to pay a large hospital bill right away. Instead of avoiding or ignoring the bill, patients are typically encouraged to contact the hospital's billing department. Representatives will usually be able to help you set up a payment plan. This would require you to make scheduled payments to the facility, which is often determined by how much you are able to pay each time.

Low-income emergency patients may also qualify for assistance in paying their bill. Government grants are available for this purpose, for instance. Some private organizations may also be able to help you pay a hospital bill, if you had to receive emergency care with no insurance. The billing department at the facility where you received the urgent care will usually be able to help you with this.

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