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No Medical Insurance? Then Go To ER

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I am 38 years old and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in my knee playing baseball 3 months ago. Because I am self employed and have no medical insurance, I have had a lot of problems getting my knee fixed. It seems as if there is no help for working people. I still have to walk on crutches. I don't want anyone to fix my knee for free, just fix it so I can get back to work. I am willing to pay for the medical bills myself. Is there anything you can do to help me?


Please Advise

Dear Please Advise,

It can be difficult for people without medical insurance to access specialty care such as an orthopedist. The surest way to access the system and get the care you need, is to go to an emergency room first. Emergency departments are required by law to see and treat anyone seeking care regardless of their ability to pay. Once you have been seen by the emergency physician, you will receive a referral to an orthopedic specialist. The orthopedic specialist is required to see patients referred from the emergency department for at least one office visit.

Once you're in the orthopedist's office, make sure that you get a clear picture of the treatment you require, the cost, and to set forth a payment plan. You'll find that most doctors are more than willing to accommodate hardworking people like you.