After I quit my job in September I looked into several insurance plans (COBRA is not an option unless you have a bank roll) and came to realize that for me and my situation having a full insurance plan was throwing money away. If I went with the standard individual plans (Ha! Standard, as if. These plans are more confusing than IKEA furniture directions) I would be spending more money out of pocket each month than I would if I went to the doctor for my yearly appoints with one or two unplanned visits and paid cash. That's not even counting the deductible that I would need to meet. So I decided to purchase the catastrophic insurance aka "Cancer Insurance" that kicks in should you have a super duper bad disease but doesn't cover anything else and decided to roll the dice on the rest.
Yesterday was the first day that I had to go to the doctor without insurance. Things had gotten pretty uncomfortable with my 'cold' and the BF told me it was time to see someone and I agreed. After a little research for a clinic close to where I am I came across the Minute Clinic (MC) located in a CVS not far from where I am at and decided to try this out as opposed to a Urgent Care (nothing against urgent care, but I didn't feel like waiting in line). Turns out the Minute Clinic was exactly what I needed. I arrived and filled out my information on a computer (general information and why I was there) and was immediately taken into a room with an LPN. After an in-depth Q&A session, my vitals were taken and she asked me a few more questions and concluded that I had a sinus and ear infection, chest congestion and an asthma flare up (the last one I knew about). I was given my prescriptions, asked if I had any questions and if it was ok for her to follow up with me in a couple of days (when was the last time your doctor followed up with you?). After talking with the girl at the CVS pharmacy she was able to make sure any of my prescriptions that could be generic and/or discounted were and for under $200 ($89 MC visit and 4 prescriptions) I was out the door. That was actually one of the better medical visits I have had in recent years.
I am not implying that this is the best solution for everything and in fact it isn't. For what I have going on this was a quick, easy and inexpensive solution (Visit the MC site for a list of services they offer). For those of you without insurance this can be a valuable resource, but there is still the issue that we don't have affordable health care readily available everywhere (MC is not available at all CVS or even all states and there are similar clinics at Walgreens that I found online but have not personally experienced). Long and short of it is that I am not an expert on this, but I am getting informed. I have options and picked one that made the most sense for ME. Even if you have insurance through your company, state or spouse you should learn about how the health care changes affect you. http://www.healthcare.gov/ is a good place to get started on understanding how the Affordable Health Care Act can help you (or not). Reading opinion pieces on how people think this affects you is not good enough. What works for me may not work for you so get educated. Affordable health care should not be so hard.
*Update - through the power of twitter I was given this handy link which is a great resource for finding a clinic (any clinic) near you! http://hc311.com/
Getting off my soapbox now and back to the beach.