According to the United States Census, 8% of adults did not have health insurance at any point in 2019 (that number is expected to be higher in 2020). The rate of people inadequately insured is even higher, with roughly 43% of adults unable to afford out-of-pocket costs and deductibles.
We know that early detection saves lives as it increases the likelihood that the cancer hasn’t spread and is easier to treat successfully. Knowing your body improves your chance for early detection. For example, for every ten women diagnosed with breast cancer, four were diagnosed because they personally noticed something new or different and had it evaluated. Learn how to perform a breast self-examination, if you don’t already know.
The fear of falling into debt can be as daunting as a diagnosis. If this is the position you find yourself in, there are a few options to access early detection screening and affordable health care.
Options for low-cost preventative healthcare
Your local Planned Parenthood clinic has free and low-cost resources for breast screening and reproductive health. You can schedule your appointment online or call 1-800-230-PLAN.
Health Insurance Marketplace
A social worker can help you find insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
Washington State Department of Health
If you’re a Washington State resident, the Department of Health runs a program that provides free breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening to eligible people in Washington State. To find out if you’re eligible, click here.
Your local hospital or clinic
If you can’t get insurance or your premiums are too high, contact your local hospital’s financial assistance department to see if they have any programs for individuals with no health insurance. If they don’t, you can contact other hospitals in your area. A select group of hospitals receives government funding to provide free or lower-cost services to people who can’t afford them.
It is also important to know that health care providers cannot deny services based on sex, gender, age, or financial status. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance plans from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions.
Once you are in touch with your healthcare provider, they will advise you on next steps and options for you.
Remember, your life is valuable, and even in challenging times, you can find hope and the right guidance to ensure you have the resources, support, and care to advocate for your health.