Low-cost healthcare options?

stethoscope and ophthalmoscopeFloyd emails:

Making barely enough to pay the rent, and having no health insurance, I don't have any money to go to see a doctor about some health issues. Are there any cheap or low cost doctors or clinics for us working poor living in the Capital District? I would appreciate it if maybe somebody had some suggestion.

This is an important question. For Floyd, of course -- but there are roughly 60,000 people in the Albany metro area who don't have health insurance, according to Census Bureau estimates. And the large majority of those people are adults (often younger adults) in the workforce who don't get health coverage through their job and/or can't afford it.

Provisions of the Affordable Care Act (AKA, Obamacare) aim to address this issue by extending the eligibility of Medicaid and using a sliding scale based on income that caps insurance premiums. Those provisions don't kick in until 2014.

That doesn't help Floyd now. So we've gathered together a few resources after the jump. We're hoping that you'll also have some suggestions and ideas, because this topic is complicated -- too complicated -- and it's important.

So, have some insight? Please share.

A few places to start:

Healthy New York
Healthy New York is the state healthcare coverage program for low-income workers. Here are the individual eligibility requirements. And there's an info phone line: 1-866-432-5849.

Whitney Young
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Services is a community health center based in Arbor Hill. Its mission: to provide "affordable, accessible, high-quality, innovative medical, dental and addictions services, regardless of income or insurance status."

Schenectady Free Clinic
The Schenectady Free Clinic "provides free, comprehensive health care to low-income, uninsured adults in Schenectady County of NY who have no other source of medical care." It's staffed by volunteer healthcare providers.

Koinonia Primary Care
Koinonia is located in Albany's West Hill neighborhood and is run by Dr. Bob Paeglow. From its website: "Primary healthcare shall be provided in an atmosphere of excellence. Healthcare services and healing prayer shall be offered to every patient regardless of economic status, social standing, and religious or cultural beliefs. Emphasis shall be placed on programs that provide preventive healthcare, healthcare education, and healthcare advocacy and empowerment; edify the individual patient; and build healthy responsibility."

photo: Flickr user a.drian (cc)

Comments

In addition to Healthy NY there is Family Health Plus (http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/family_health_plus/) which is available to single adults and families.

I recommend taking a look at programs offered by the county, as well as the clinics mentioned above.

Albany County offers a dental discount program- http://www.albanycounty.com/legislature/default.asp?id=3379

And there are similar programs for prescription drugs- http://www.proactrx.com/card_albany.php

I feel for you, Floyd. I highly recommend Whitney Young or Hometown Health Centers (Schenectady). I've worked with both of them, and they're both the opposite of the dingy, poorly-equipped clinics we see in movies. Both centers have excellent facilities, highly-trained and compassionate staff, and they both offer much more than just health care. Both centers have dental clinics, social workers, facilitated health insurance enrollment (meaning they'll help you sign up for affordable insurance if you haven't already got it), support groups, dieticians, etc. They're also both federally-qualified health centers, which means (among other things), that a majority of their boards of directors are community residents, which is pretty cool.

OK, maybe that last part is just cool for public health nerds like me, but you should check them out. They both have large patient populations, so it might take you longer to get an appointment than it would with other health facilities, but you'll be in good hands with either organization.

(And kudos for taking action with your health issues, despite your lack of insurance. A LOT of people without insurance [and a lot of people WITH insurance, too!] just ignore health issues until they become major crises, which are so much more expensive to treat. Good for you!)

If you get auto insurance, check with your provider, it might offer a health plan. I've gone this route. Even better, it gets me the multiple line discount, which is worth more than the cost of the health plan itself so you get coverage and save a few bucks. If I end up in urgent care or the ER (which happens around once per year since I'm accident prone and avoid the doc until Ive got one foot in the grave), the plan covers those costs.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Private dorm opposition, a big downtown residential conversion, and other exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board is a program recorded before a live studio audience in Albany City Hall once a month in which... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Welcome to that transitional weekend when we go from falling leaves to holiday lights. This is also the last weekend before the holiday craziness sets... (more)

Morning Blend

Trial in the death of Noel Alkaramla The jury in now deliberating in the the trial of Johnny Oquendo -- accused of killing Noel Alkaramla... (more)

Today's moment of architecture

Architecture moods around West Capitol Park Thursday night: The Capitol: LOOK AT ME! The Smith Building: I just want to efficiently finish this file and... (more)

The Regrettes at The Low Beat

Garage rock band The Regrettes are set to play a show at The Low Beat December 6. Tickets are $10 and available online. The band's... (more)

Recent Comments

My grandmother has Alzheimers and sometimes comes to stay with us in Troy. Last week the absolutely highlight of her day was seeing the hundreds of crows that came streaming by the window at our apartment. I watched her go from completely unresponsive to engaged... stringing questions together and returning to her old joyful self for the half hour she watched those birds was enough to endear crows to me forever.

If you see someone running around throwing bird seed in Riverfront Park yelling "COME ON DOWN, BIRD FRIENDS!", it's me.

A few more details about the proposed mixed-use development near St. Peter's hospital

...has 19 comments, most recently from BS

Morning Blend for Nov 17

...has 1 comment, most recently from Summer

Today's moment of architecture

...has 3 comments, most recently from -B

The ethics of dropping your dog's poop in a neighbor's garbage can

...has 38 comments, most recently from Howz

The Regrettes at The Low Beat

...has 1 comment, most recently from Brian