No medical insurance in NYC
July 21, 2014 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I haven't been to a doctor in a few years, and I don't have insurance now and won't have it for 8 months or longer. I was wondering how much would it cost to go to a doctor with no insurance and what choices do I have in the NYC area?

I think it might be good to do just a general check-up. How much might that be?

I've also had a mild inflammation in upper lungs for the last couple of years. It doesn't bother me much but there's a bit of cough sometimes. What would be a good place to have that looked at and how much would it cost to treat, approximately, with no insurance?

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you've had a special qualifying event or can qualify for medicaid you may be able to get insurance sooner.

Check out the NY State website.
posted by brookeb at 3:24 PM on July 21, 2014

You probably want a Federally Qualified Health Center or an "FQHC look alike". Seeing uninsured patients is part of their mandate and they typically operate on a sliding scale. Prescriptions will also be cheaper there because their pharmacies get special discounts. Try here to start.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 3:30 PM on July 21, 2014

Walk-in clinics like at the Duane Reade are generally perfectly suitable for getting a cough seen to, and if you call them (or even check their websites) they'll tell you up front how much everything costs without insurance. Unless you've got reason to believe this is particularly complicated or you have other symptoms that make you think you should have that check-up, it'd be a simple place to start.
posted by asperity at 3:33 PM on July 21, 2014

Callen Lorde (pdf) has a sliding scale discount.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:07 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Annual physicals with your primary care physician are free under the ACA. Annual check-ups with your GYN are free, too. Depending on your doctor, you end up having blood work as part of the physical, and you might get charged for that -- when the ACA's marketplaces hadn't gone up yet and I still had shitty catastrophic care insurance, my blood work wasn't covered (was "out of network" anyway) and came to about $200.

Check out brookeb's link to take a look at the individual insurance plan marketplace. You might qualify for a tax credit or for Medicaid coverage, now that the ACA is in effect. The open enrollment period has passed, but depending on why you don't have insurance now and why you won't have it for eight months or more and other things specific to your situation (such as your income), that might not actually be a problem for you. As of this year, you're also required to have insurance or face a yearly fee (on your taxes) for opting out -- the fee is approx. $94/year, I believe, but that might actually be more than you'd have to pay for insurance anyway, depending on your circumstances (for example, I pay $7.27/mo for full coverage (a "silver plan") from the provider of my choice, and I'm in a pretty conservative state that declined to expand Medicaid).

Anyway, at the physical, you can tell your GP that you've got this cough and ask what to do about it. Judging by my experience, she'll listen to your lungs a bit, tell you to take something really basic (maybe even something OTC) if that's appropriate, and/or write you a referral to a specialist if that's appropriate. It's really tough for anyone aside from your doctor(s) to say how much any treatment of your lungs will cost, seeing as there's no way for anyone to diagnose you over the internet.
posted by rue72 at 4:29 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

This link is pretty comprehensive. How much you pay is going to depend on how much you earn; if you are low income you can get most services for free but sliding scale fees for middle-upper income individuals tend to be on the high side (~$50-100).
posted by fox problems at 6:30 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you've had a cough/lung issue for *years*, I would try to go to a clinic where they can do follow-up and/or a more detailed workup if necessary rather than a doctor at Duane Reade. If it were a case of bronchitis that came with a cold, sure Duane Reade, but for something chronic, I'd be more concerned.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:28 PM on July 21, 2014

You could try the Institute for Family Health. They see people without insurance and have staff who can help you enroll in insurance plans. I've generally had good experiences with the doctors at their centers (the waits can be super long though, so bring a book even if you have an appointment).
posted by snaw at 8:06 AM on July 22, 2014

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