DEAR HARRIETTE: Last year, I had a series of medical tests that led to more and more tests. I was diagnosed with a couple of health issues that I need to deal with, but honestly, I can’t afford to go to all of the doctors' appointments, let alone pay for all of the medications. And I have insurance! I work, too, but I can’t keep up with all of the things needed to stay healthy. I feel like I am going to go broke trying to stay alive. I don’t know what to do. -- Can't Afford Health Care
DEAR CAN’T AFFORD HEALTH CARE: I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. Sadly, you are not alone. A lot of Americans are facing the same reality -- they cannot afford the care they need to stay healthy, at least not at face value.
While I do not have any magic tricks to offer to you, I can tell you that some teaching hospitals offer free or low-cost health care for patients who are willing to allow students to learn from them. This has been true for schools of dentistry, surgery, mental health and more. Look around your city to see what teaching hospitals are there, and inquire as to whether they will accept you.
Beyond that, negotiate a payment plan with all of your medical creditors. Be proactive, and let them know your situation. Ask for mercy. Usually, this will help you to create a bridge that allows you to meet your goals.