How to Get Health Insurance With No Money

A trip to the ER could cost you several thousand dollars.

If you have no money, then getting health insurance may seem like an unobtainable dream. However, with doctors' visits alone frequently costing several hundred dollars, health insurance is a necessity if you want to stay healthy and not fall deeply into debt when you hit a health crisis. If you really can't afford health insurance programs, there are many health insurance options for low-income individuals. Knowing where to find these programs may involve a little detective work.


Step 1

Look up your local Department of Social Services and apply for state Medicaid. Medicaid can help you if you are impoverished and meet other requirements, such as having few assets, if you have children or you are disabled. Income requirements vary from state to state: check with your local Department of Social Services to see if you qualify.


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Step 2

Call 211 to reach the United Way. An operator can help you locate United Way agencies in your area that can provide links to health insurance plans or health service providers that provide services at little or no cost. There are free clinics in nearly every community: the United Way will be able to put you in touch with them.


Step 3

Contact your local city hall and ask which hospital in your area provides indigent care. Some cities make agreements with local hospitals to provide subsidized services. For example, the City of Jacksonville, Florida pays Shands Jacksonville to provide services to low-income patients. Patients apply for the health insurance and receive a Shands Card if they qualify, which entitles the holder to receive care at the hospital for free or for a small copayment.



In general, you can only get free health insurance if you fall below a certain income threshold. Most programs help those at or below the poverty line although some programs may help those who earn, at most, twice the poverty income level for your area.



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