In 2019, the section of the Affordable Care Act that placed a fine on those without health insurance in the United States was repealed. While this means that the federal government no longer enforces a fine for not having insurance, it also means that millions of Americans were once again left vulnerable to going without insurance. If you happen to be one of those people, don’t fret just yet — there is plenty that you can do to maintain your health until you’re able to get back onto an insurance plan that works for you.
Take Care Of Your Eyes
Eye health can often be taken for granted, but it is one of the most important aspects of your overall health that you should try your best to maintain. Common vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia (aging eye) can all be corrected to near-perfect eyesight with either contact lenses or glasses, but if you find yourself without vision insurance it can have impacts on your health. Going without corrective lenses of some sort can result in headaches and can impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle, which in turn can prevent you from obtaining gainful employment, thus compounding the negative effects of not having health insurance if you suffer from an injury.
Fortunately, if your eyeglass prescription isn’t complicated, there is a wide range of inexpensive online retailers where you can find a cheap pair of frames and lenses. However, if you do have a complex prescription and lack vision insurance, there are still programs like EyeCare America and VISION USA that exist to provide free eyeglasses or free or low-cost eye exams if you develop vision issues while uninsured.
And Your Teeth
Another aspect of your overall health that can be easy to overlook is your oral health. Unlike when you’re feeling a bit sick, dental issues can’t be remedied by getting comfortable and warming up with a glass of tea or a bowl of your favourite soup. If left untreated, oral health issues can lead to far more serious issues for your health overall, ranging from cardiovascular disease to pneumonia or even pregnancy and birth complications.
The best approach to maintaining your oral health is to be proactive and take preventative measures to ensure that you don’t get cavities or develop gingivitis. Avoid sugary and carbonated drinks that can wear away at your enamel and develop proper teeth brushing habits. Flossing regularly is also a huge component of fighting gum disease and while it isn’t the most pleasant thing to do or easiest to remember, taking care of your teeth now can save you a load of trouble later down the line.
Know When and How to Enroll (If You Can)
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a government-run website that offers a variety of plans ranging from the Bronze level, which has the lowest monthly costs but the highest out of pocket expenses, to the Platinum level, which has a high monthly premium but offers lower costs when actually visiting healthcare providers. Some states have their own websites that you must visit to apply for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. Additionally, while the federal open enrollment period runs from November 1 to December 15, some individual states have different enrollment periods.
For many, the plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace don’t meet their needs. If you are unable to find a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace that fits what you need in a health insurance plan, either in coverage or cost, there are off-exchange insurance plans that you can find directly through insurance providers or brokers. These plans can be far less expensive than those found on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
While you might not have insurance, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have no options when it comes to receiving healthcare or even just getting advice on how to take care of your own health. There are most likely plenty of community healthcare resources that you can take advantage of where you live that can help to provide a range of low-cost or free healthcare services. Many of these community programs assist in getting patients access to primary healthcare services, mental health services, and can even help with getting prescriptions filled at your local pharmacy.
Community health programs are often helmed by health educators who want to help educate the public on how to take care of themselves to avoid having to go to the hospital in the first place. These programs can be an invaluable resource not just in regards to finding affordable healthcare but also in learning how to actively engage in preventative healthcare that can make a world of difference when you’re uninsured.
You Have Unique Needs
One thing you should keep in mind is that your healthcare needs will be very unique to you. In fact, even where you live plays a role in what sort of healthcare you’re more likely to need and even receive. Certain areas of the country might be more susceptible to cardiovascular disease than another, and knowing what unique health risks you might be facing can be incredibly important in deciding what sort of preventative care you should be engaging in. There is no one-size-fits-all mould for healthcare in the United States, and doing your homework can help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to managing and maintaining your overall health.
While common injuries like ankle sprains or back injuries can be managed off of a rubric either by healthcare professionals or at home if you lack health insurance, understanding the special healthcare that you need can help you to home in on the right healthcare regime.
The lack of health insurance can do serious damage to your health in the long run. If you’re young and employed, chances are that the company you work for offers you some sort of insurance. If not, or if you simply cannot afford insurance, your best bet in maintaining your overall health is to take proactive, preventative measures to reduce the likelihood that you’d need healthcare in the first place. Know that there are always options, and even if you don’t currently have healthcare, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do to ensure that you stay happy and healthy.