Health Coverage for All

March 26, 2009 9:36:14 PM PDT
As the unemployment numbers grow in California the numbers of people without health insurance also grows. It's a concern not only for those with no insurance, but for healthcare providers as well. But there is health care available in these tough times - if you know where to look.At the North Fresno primary care facility for planned parenthood called "Family First," doctors and nurses see anywhere from 20 to 30 patients a day. This family nurse practitioner says office visits are up five percent from a year ago.

Sandra Loehner says new patients are coming in who have either lost their job or their insurance or both. The family first clinic charges for visits on a sliding scale based on income. Says Loehner, "I've had patients come in for lab testing because our lab charges are more economical for them and they've shopped around. Yeah we see those types of cases as well."

If you had to pay out of pocket for a basic blood screening, it would cost you about 145 dollars. A bilateral mammogram screening would be 120 dollars. If your child needed his tonsils and adenoids out, you'd have to pay more than 8000 dollars out of pocket. If you developed heart problems and had to have a catheterization, you're looking at over 17-thousand dollars with no insurance. California insurance commissioner Steve Poizner said in Fresno the numbers of uninsured are growing. Poizner said, "About 20 percent of the entire population of the state of California has no health insurance - that's seven million people."

Poizner says there are solutions for the uninsured. First of all, for those laid off in recent months, President Obama's federal stimulus package provides for a "cobra" insurance subsidy of up to 65 percent for those people laid off from companies with more than 20 people.

In addition, a non-profit organization has put together a website to help you find affordable health insurance. Go to "coverageforall.org," hit the arrow and take the eligibility quiz. It's just five questions. You will be provided with information on either low cost or no cost health insurance. Whether you're eligible for cobra, state funded insurance programs or medi-cal ... many doctors and hospitals are willing to work with you to get the treatment you need.

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