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Getting Medical Treatment When You Don’t Have Health Insurance

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One of the most difficult challenges facing individuals seeking social security disability benefits, and a question we hear often, is: “How can I get medical treatment and prescription medications if I do not have health insurance?”

In Social Security cases, claimants must prove that they have what is called a “severe medical impairment(s).”  This can be a physical, or mental, impairment, or a combination of both.  Proof of a severe medical impairment requires consistent medical treatment records documenting the illness or injury . We know that  many claimants do not have health insurance to pay for necessary medical treatment, and that most social security disability claimants do not have the money to pay for medical provider visits and prescription medications.

Compounding this problem,  changes to MaineCare adopted over the last few years have resulted in many claimants losing their MaineCare coverage, or being found ineligible for MaineCare because they do not meet the program requirements.

Fortunately,  there are available medical resources to many claimants to obtain necessary medical treatment despite the lack of health insurance.  Most of the hospitals in Maine have “Free Care” programs. If a claimant applies for and is approved for free care by a hospital, that free care provides access to treatment not only from that hospital but also to physicians, counselors, and other medical providers in the medical practices owned by that hospital. A claimant who has lost health insurance coverage should submit an application for free care at the nearest hospital that offers such a program.

In addition,  a claimant should seek treatment from one or more of the free health care clinics in the State of Maine that are available to treat claimants with no incomes. A directory of free clinics in Maine can be found at www.211maine.org<http://www.211maine.org> and www.maineahc.org<http://www.maineahc.org>.