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MUA and Model Sydney Morgan Shares Her Journey with Ulcerative Colitis



Sydney Morgan might have been what most would call a “typical” teen. Halfway through high school, she had plans of running track and field in college.

Life had other plans.

Morgan began to have unexplainable symptoms that seemed like a stomach bug at first blush. However, her recurring symptoms, like fatigue, low energy, and frequent trips to the bathroom, pointed to something else.

After 4 months of experiencing symptoms, Morgan reached a turning point.

“I was on a road trip with a friend and we were going to be in the car for 10 hours,” she explains. “I didn’t eat the day before because I didn’t want to have to stop to go to the bathroom. I finally said, OK, I need to do something about this.”

Morgan had been doing web research to help her understand her symptoms. Her research led her to an article on ulcerative colitis.

From the car, she texted her mom a screenshot of the article. “I think I have this,” she confessed.

After that, Morgan started the whirlwind of doctor’s appointments and emergency room visits that led her to a diagnosis.

“The first time I went to the doctor, I was embarrassed to talk about my symptoms,” she recalls. “I said, ‘I want to see a female doctor, not my normal male doctor.’”

An ER merry-go-round

Morgan was sent to the ER for testing for 2 days. When the ER doctors told her she wouldn’t be able to get a colonoscopy for 2 months, she was discharged without treatment or answers.

“Meanwhile, I was going to the bathroom 30 times a day,” she says. “I couldn’t leave my house. I was in pain constantly.”

After another week, Morgan returned to the ER for testing.

“I was in there for 2 weeks doing lots of bloodwork testing, colonoscopy, endoscopy, lots of scopes. They came to my room and told me I have UC (ulcerative colitis),” she says.

Arriving at a diagnosis

The news came as a shock.

“For them to come in and tell me this is something you’re going to be dealing with for the rest of your life was really overwhelming, very scary,” Morgan shares. “Until that point, I had never heard of Crohn’s disease [or] ulcerative colitis.”

Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect the bowel but in different ways.

Luckily, Morgan had a supportive doctor.

“Dr. Sapana Shah was my pediatric gastroenterologist and has been with me since Day 1 of my diagnosis and throughout the duration of my colitis journey,” Morgan shares. “She went above and beyond as my doctor, but as time went on she became a friend.”

Finding the right treatment

After that, Morgan began a series of trial-and-error treatments to find what worked best for her, starting with high doses of steroids.

“Those have very rough side effects, especially for a 16-year-old girl. Lots of weight gain and facial swelling,” she shares. “I was very embarrassed to go to school because not everyone knew what I was going through, and I didn’t want to explain it to them. They just knew that I looked different.”

When it comes to Crohn’s and colitis, there’s no uniform treatment. Morgan tried numerous medications to see if any might help her symptoms and get her into remission.

“There’s no way to know what medicines will work on different people. There’s still a lot of research being done,” she says. “Nothing really worked for me except the steroids — and I hated them — and you can’t be on them long-term.”

After a year of medication-hopping, Morgan went in for another diagnostic exam that turned into emergency surgery to remove her large intestine.

“I went in to see my doctor and the surgeon and I thought it was just a consultation. He said, ‘I had a cancellation, do you want to get your colon out tomorrow?’ and I replied, ‘Oh my god, I’m not ready,’ but I did end up getting it taken out the next day.”

Due to postsurgery complications, Morgan was in the hospital for 2 months.

“It was really hard,” she says. “I had to have around-the-clock wound care and there was just a lot happening.”

In the midst of the stress, Morgan found support from her nurse.

“Jen Jones was my wound care nurse,” she shares. “She shared my love of makeup, and talking about that with her helped take my mind off my medical issues, which were pretty severe at the time. She even brought me makeup and hair products to the hospital to cheer me up.”

After she recovered from surgery, Morgan wore an ostomy bag, a small pouch to expel waste from the body, for about a year. She then underwent two more surgeries.

The first was a J-pouch surgery, a procedure that utilizes the remaining small intestine to form a pouch that functions in place of a colon. Next was a reconnective surgery to remove the ostomy bag and connect the J-pouch to the rest of the digestive tract.

Now, Morgan is free of her ostomy bag and able to have more agency in her day-to-day life, though there are changes she’s still getting used to.

“I still deal with some symptoms, but I’m pretty much the closest there is to cured now since they took out all of that diseased part of my colon,” she says.

She still experiences fatigue and notes that she has to stay on top of drinking water and taking nutritional supplements since she can’t absorb nutrients as well without a colon.

“It’s hard for me to realize that I can’t keep up 100 percent with people who are healthy and have a colon,” she shares. “I just have to take breaks more often. It’s hard.”

Still, Morgan doesn’t let it get her down.

“I didn’t let it consume me. I live in the present and take things one day at a time,” she says.

She also turned to hobbies, her medical team, and family for support.

Morgan used her time in the hospital to look for silver linings.

Therapy animals

“I was on the therapy dog list, so I got at least one dog every day to come and say hi to me,” she says. “My mom would buy little dog toys and treats for them so the dogs liked coming to my room, and that helped me a lot through diagnosis.”

Morgan also made a new friend through the therapy dog program, volunteer David Anderson.

“He would bring his dogs Anna and Clarence to my hospital room literally every single day to say hello, even if he wasn’t assigned to my wing that day. They always brightened my mood and were the highlight of my day.”

The experience inspired Morgan.

“I plan to train a dog of my own later in life to be a therapy animal and volunteer at local hospitals,” she says.

Rediscovering art

Having a lot of downtime also led Morgan back to a lifelong passion for art.

“I did a lot of artwork in the hospital and at home because I couldn’t really go out and do anything,” she says. “I needed a hobby that I could do by myself without too much physical exertion. I had been an artist my whole life, so I really got back into it when I was in the hospital.”

A return to her artistic side along with encouragement from nurses led Morgan to something she didn’t expect: life as a makeup artist, model, influencer, and advocate.

Diving into makeup

“I had been playing around with makeup and volunteering in my community to do face paint on kids at local events, but I really started taking the pictures and videos after diagnosis,” she says.

The rest of the nurses at the hospital got on board to support Morgan’s budding hobby.

“There was a makeup palette that I really wanted [that] was going to be hard to get because it was going to sell out really quickly,” she recalls. “I probably had 10 nurses in my room all on the website refreshing [the page] because they were like ‘We need Sydney to get this palette!’”

The teamwork paid off. “I did get it!” she shares excitedly.

When asked if she had any advice for others embarking on a diagnosis journey, Morgan had this to say.

Find a hobby or passion

Having a hobby “gave me something to do and helped me to feel like I was being productive or creative through that time [in the hospital],” Morgan says.

Remember your feelings are valid

She also emphasizes that finding a balance between staying positive and validating your feelings about diagnosis, treatment, and anything that comes up as a result of living with a chronic illness is crucial.

“Stay positive through it,” she says. “You’ll get to the bottom of it and all your feelings are valid.”

Talk with someone

Morgan also emphasizes the need to have someone to talk with. This can be a loved one, a community member, or a therapist.

“They had me seeing a behavioral health professional while I was inpatient to talk to and help me through getting the ostomy bag because it was a big transition for people my age,” she shares. “I think having someone to talk to is very important.”

Lean on family and community

She also suggests making friends within your chronic illness community.

“I found a lot of my closest friends through the Crohn’s and colitis foundation,” she says. “It’s just really nice to talk to people that have gone through what you’re going through… and it’s just good to have a community.”

These days, Morgan has a major Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube following. She uses her platform to share her makeup creations and her resilient spirit, as well as advocate for others going through similar experiences.


“I feel like people just don’t talk about [ulcerative colitis] as much as they should,” she says. “That’s why I’m such an advocate for it because when I was doing my research there was just not a lot there.”

Morgan currently works with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation as a Take Steps National Ambassador. She also actively helps local children’s hospitals that specialize in pediatric treatment for chronic illnesses.

She recently participated in the Los Angeles Take Steps event and spoke at the Pittsburgh Take Steps event.


Morgan both produced and acted in Kindling, an upcoming thriller. A portion of the proceeds from the film will be donated to The Trevor Project and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

The future

As far as her plans for the future, Morgan is focused on the here and now.

“I’m very much taking things day by day,” she says. “I want to do it all. I like trying everything, so I’m just going to continue being creative.”

“I think going through all of that really just made me want to do what makes me happy in life. You don’t know how much you have so I want to enjoy every minute,” she says. “It gave me the confidence and the fire to pursue my passions and my dreams which ultimately led me to where I am now.”

When it comes to what could have been, Morgan doesn’t look back.

“If I didn’t get diagnosed with UC, I’d be in college somewhere running track and field,” she says. “People ask all the time, ‘Would you change your diagnosis or do you wish you never got it because of all the pain you went through?’”

Her answer is, “Definitely not.”

“I’m so grateful that I get to be an advocate and share my story with others,” she says. “I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and things ended up the way they’re supposed to be.”

Crystal Hoshaw is a mother, writer, and longtime yoga practitioner. She has taught in private studios, gyms, and in one-on-one settings in Los Angeles, Thailand, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She shares mindful strategies for self-care through online courses. You can find her on Instagram.

Read the full article here

Bobby focuses on creating higher margins while investing in society. He believes that our World has room for improvement, and one of his goals is to be part of the evolutionary process. What makes him successful is the collaboration with founders and partners. Bobby has a successful track record in envisioning and creating deals and opportunities from scratch in various industries.


Examples of the Effects of Mental Health Stigma



Over the past few decades, we’ve come a long way in how we view and talk about mental health.

And that should come as no surprise, because 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a mental health condition. Many people are also becoming more open to the idea of sharing their personal experiences.

But there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health. It’s a stigma, in fact, that affects millions of people around the world who live with mental health conditions. It affects everything from their social relationships and professional opportunities to the way they view themselves.

We’ll explore more about what mental health stigma is, and how we can all work to address this and improve the lives of people living with mental health conditions.

Mental health is often stigmatized because of a lack of understanding about what mental health conditions are and what it’s like to live with a mental health condition. Stigma can also arise from personal thoughts or religious beliefs about people who have mental health conditions.

Generally, the lack of understanding about mental health — as well as the harmful assumptions about people living with mental health conditions — is at the heart of a bias or stigma. This can result in avoidance, rejection, infantilization, and other discriminations against people who are neurodivergent or have a mental health condition.

We often use the word “stigma” to describe the overarching experience that people have. However, there are actually three types of stigma: public stigma, self-stigma, and institutional stigma.

  • Public stigma: This refers to the negative attitudes around mental health from people in society.
  • Self-stigma: This describes the internalized stigma that people with mental health conditions feel about themselves.
  • Institutional stigma: This is a type of systemic stigma that arises from corporations, governments, and other institutions.

While there are many examples of mental health stigma in society, here are some of the more common instances you might notice:

  • When people are viewed as attention-seeking or weak when they try to reach out and get professional help.
  • When others use harmful language, such as “crazy” or “insane”, to judge or trivialize people who have mental health conditions.
  • When people make jokes about mental health or certain conditions.
  • When people avoid others with certain mental health conditions, like schizophrenia, because of fear or misunderstanding.
  • When family or friends tell someone with depression that they can get better if they just “work out and get more sun,” or make other unhelpful judgments.
  • When someone living with a mental health condition views themselves as worthless or talks down to themselves because of their condition.
  • When companies refuse to hire someone or provide them with adequate accommodations because of their mental health.
  • When people view examples of neurodivergence as illnesses or something to be cured.

A 2021 study explored the trends of mental health stigma in the United States over a period of more than 20 years, between 1996 and 2018. In the study, researchers reviewed surveys from across the country on attitudes toward various mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, depression, and alcohol dependence.

According to the study results, from roughly 1996 to 2006, people became more knowledgeable about mental health — including acknowledging differences between daily experiences and symptoms of diagnosable conditions.

And from around 2006 to 2018, there was a significant decrease in social stigma against depression — specifically, less desire to be socially distanced from people with depression. However, when it came to schizophrenia and alcohol dependence, not only did social stigma increase but so did negative perceptions of these conditions.

Another earlier study from 2018 took a slightly different approach in analyzing the social perception of mental and physical health conditions. In this study, researchers used automated software to track over a million tweets related to mental health and physical health over a 50-day period.

According to the results of the study, mental health conditions were more likely to be stigmatized and trivialized than physical health conditions. And the results varied by condition — with schizophrenia being the most stigmatized, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) being the most trivialized.

Intersectionality refers to how someone’s intersecting identities — such as race, gender, sexuality, or class — contribute to their own unique experience with discrimination and oppression.

When it comes to mental health, intersectionality can play a huge role not only in someone’s overall mental health, but also in how mental health stigma affects them.

For example, research suggests that Black and Latino people experience mental health conditions more severely and persistently than other racial or ethnic groups. Much of this imbalance stems from factors like institutionalized racism, prejudice, and other outside circumstances.

Another study from 2021 looked into the use of mental health services by young Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in HIV care.

According to the researchers, less than 20% of the men who were referred to mental healthcare from the clinic continued to receive the recommended care — often as a result of increased social and professional stigma for men to go without mental healthcare of any kind.

Mental health stigma can have a hugely negative impact on the lives of people living with mental health conditions. In fact, stigma can often lead to mental, social, or even professional consequences for the people who are stigmatized.


People living with mental health conditions are more likely to experience low self-esteem and lower self-confidence if they’re stigmatized.

Stigma may lead to difficulty seeking treatment or even following through with treatment. And some people may experience increased symptoms of their condition, or even develop new ones — like anxiety or depression — because of experiencing stigma.

Self-stigma may even hinder someone’s ability to recover from a mental health condition. In one smaller study from 2018, researchers found that higher levels of self-stigma were associated with a decrease in recovery from mental health conditions.


Social mental health stigma may lead to isolation from friends or family. People with mental health conditions may experience bullying or harassment from others — or possibly even physical violence.

And when others have a judgmental view of mental health, it can be difficult for people living with these conditions to build relationships with them.

Research has shown that perceived and experienced social stigma may also play a role in suicidality among people with mental health conditions. According to the literature, people who experience discrimination (even anticipated discrimination), social stigma, and self-stigma may be more likely to experience suicidal ideation.


Stigma in the professional world can lead to fewer opportunities to excel at school and fewer opportunities to advance at work. People living with mental health conditions may have difficulty fulfilling school or work obligations — especially if they have trouble with classmates, teachers, coworkers, or bosses.

It’s not just classmates or colleagues who contribute to mental health stigma in a professional setting, either. Research suggests that when healthcare professionals exhibit negativity toward people with mental health conditions, or have a lack of understanding about these conditions, it can prevent people from accessing high quality care.

Stigma comes from everywhere — institutions, society, and even ourselves. But we can all take steps to address and reduce the stigma of mental health:

  • Learn about mental health: One of the most important steps toward reducing mental health stigma is to learn more about it. Learning what mental health conditions look like and who they can affect can help reduce some of the fear, misunderstanding, and judgment around them.
  • Use words carefully: When we use words with negative associations, like “insane” or “crazy”, we contribute to the judgment and stigmatization of others. It may take some effort to change the way we speak, but it can help reduce the stigma that people with mental health conditions face.
  • Take part in campaigns: Many mental health organizations, like NAMI, create fundraising campaigns to help bring awareness and provide funding for mental healthcare. Even if you can’t get directly involved, these campaigns are a great way to learn more about people living with mental health conditions.
  • Share your story: If you’re someone living with a mental health condition, one of the most powerful tools for reducing stigma is to share your story. By educating people on what it’s like to live with a mental health condition, we can help reduce the misunderstanding and judgment that people feel.

Mental health stigma plays a significant role in the lives of people with mental health conditions — from the way that they’re treated to the way they feel about themselves. But we can take steps to reduce this stigma.

By being more mindful about how we speak to others, learning more about what it’s like to live with a mental health condition, and sharing our stories when we’re living with these conditions, we can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

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Can People with Diabetes Eat Candy?



Eating candy can be a controversial topic for people with diabetes.

Misconceptions about sugar and candy being off-limits for people with diabetes can be found in the public mindset, in media and entertainment, and within the medical community itself.

With the Halloween season upon us, both kids and adults with diabetes as well as their loved ones and friends may face this issue even more often than at other times of the year.

This article will explore if people with diabetes can actually eat (and enjoy) candy, how much may be allowed, and whether sugar-free candy is worth considering.

Short answer: Yes, people with diabetes can eat candy.

Adults and children with diabetes (no matter the type) are just as entitled to a sweet treat occasionally as anyone else. Like everything else, details and context matter most, and moderation is key for anyone living with diabetes when it comes to food choices. High sugar foods and drinks can impact glucose levels more quickly and dramatically, so understanding how those influence your diabetes management is important.

People with diabetes must consider extra planning if they want to eat candy. They need to be cognizant about counting carbohydrates and dosing insulin correctly if they happen to use that hormone to help manage their condition.

It’s important to remember, too, that people with diabetes are typically watching the total carbohydrate count of food and drink, and not necessarily honing in on the sugar content.

While candy can make blood sugars rise more quickly, it’s that carb count that needs to be watched when consuming a piece of candy. The same applies to sugar-free candy, which also contains a certain amount of carbohydrates and that needs to be considered when factoring that food choice into your diabetes management.

Certain candies, such as those containing peanut butter or nuts, can take longer to impact blood sugars and won’t lead to as dramatic spikes immediately after eating them. However, other regular candies with sugar can cause quick spikes in blood sugar, and some medical professionals suggest eating a piece of candy closer to mealtime in order to “soften the blow” of a sudden spike in blood sugar.

Of course, you’ll still need to account for the calories and carbs contained within the candy.

While sugar-free candy certainly doesn’t get an award for being “healthy” per se, many people with diabetes (especially children) turn to it as an alternative to regular candy. The thought is that sugar-free candy may be healthier for blood sugar levels.

Sugar-free candy is made with artificial sweeteners, meaning that it can have a lighter impact on blood sugar levels.

However, a common misconception is that sugar-free candy does not impact blood sugar. It does, in fact, contain carbohydrates and calories. That means you still need to dose insulin or take glucose-lowering diabetes medications for those sugar-free candies.

If someone with non-insulin dependent diabetes is being mindful of their weight, eating sugar-free candy is not a free pass for sweets. These sugar-free options may sabotage weight loss efforts due to their high calorie content.

A non-diabetes-related benefit of sugar-free candy is that it’s kinder to teeth. Absent of the higher sugar contents, these sugar-free treats don’t lead to as much tooth decay or cavities often linked to frequent sugar consumption.

Additionally, there’s usually not a very big difference in terms of total fat or protein content in sugar-free versus regular candy.

Examples of artificial sweeteners used in sugar-free candy include:

  • stevia
  • sucralose
  • aspartame
  • saccharin

The big issue with sugar-free candy comes down to sugar alcohols in those treats, which can have some negative effects depending on how much you eat.

In this older study, researchers gave study participants either sugar or one of two kinds of sugar alcohol (erythritol and xylitol).

Side effects included:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea and upset stomach
  • bloating
  • excess gas

The study participants who were given sugar experienced no such side effects.

Sugar alcohols are considered fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, or a type of FODMAP. These are food molecules that some people cannot digest easily, especially when eaten in large quantities.

Sugar alcohols can also cause a laxative effect, especially if you’re prone to stomach issues.

While they contain fewer calories than sugar, they’re not calorie-free. Eating any treat in excess can inhibit weight loss or cause weight gain.

Eating sugar-free candy made with artificial sweeteners can also cause side effects, including interrupting the gut microbiome that is important to your health.

A 2019 study and older research show that saccharin, sucralose, and Stevia change the composition of gut microbiota. In one study, people who had disrupted gut bacteria also showed worse blood sugar control 5 days after eating the artificial sweetener.

While it may not be the healthiest low snack, treating any low blood sugar with fast-acting sugar can be helpful.

Some candies that contain sugar are very fast-acting. However, some others (including those with chocolate or peanut butter) have higher fat content and are slower to digest and take longer to impact blood sugars, so they may not be appropriate to treat severe hypoglycemia quickly enough.

Another con of eating candy to treat low blood sugars is that it can react quickly and if you eat too much, it may cause higher blood sugars (rebound highs).

Make sure to consult your diabetes care team about any concerns or questions relating to candy and treating low blood sugars.

Yes, children and adults with diabetes can and do eat candy. The key is moderation and making sure to track the number of carbohydrates and calories eaten. Sugar-free candies can be better for blood sugar levels, but they still contain carbs and calories. The sugar-alcohols in these treats can also cause upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and excess gas.

Candy can be used to treat hypoglycemia, but it may not always be appropriate for urgent low blood sugars requiring glucagon or emergency medical assistance.

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Where Can I Go for Medical Care Without Insurance?



Finding affordable healthcare without insurance may seem daunting, but there are more options than you may think. Here are more than 18 resources that can provide assistance.

It’s no secret that accessing healthcare can be very expensive. If you don’t have insurance, those costs are even higher. In fact, 85% of uninsured people in the United States reported that paying for healthcare was difficult in 2022.

Fortunately, there are resources that can help you find and pay for medical care without insurance. You can find care at low or no cost with a variety of programs designed to help people without health insurance get the care they need.

Yes, you can get medical care if you don’t have health insurance.

In the United States, hospital emergency rooms are required to provide treatment regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

Additionally, there are many medical facilities that provide routine care to people who don’t have insurance. You will be asked to pay for any care you receive, but there are ways to find healthcare at a lower cost.

There are a variety of options for seeking care if you don’t have insurance. Many of these options are designed to be affordable. In some cases, you might be able to get certain healthcare services for free.

You can find low cost or free care in several locations:

Community health centers

Community health centers are nonprofit health clinics that offer low cost or free care. Often, fees are set on an income-based sliding scale, and staff will work with you to determine your costs.

The exact services offered by a community health center depend on the location but generally include:

  • preventive healthcare
  • basic healthcare
  • family planning services
  • vaccinations
  • chronic condition management

Some community health centers also offer prescription medications and dental care. You can search for community health centers near you by checking here.

State or county departments of health

Your state or county department of health might cover certain healthcare services for eligible residents. Often, this includes access to preventive care, such as vaccines or screenings.

You might need to register in advance and prove that you reside in the county or state to receive free care.

You can search for your local department of health here.

Urgent care and walk-in clinics

Urgent care centers and walk-in clinics offer care without an appointment. Often, these facilities offer reduced cost care for people who don’t have insurance. Some urgent care centers list costs for standard services on their websites.

You can also call ahead to talk with a representative about fees and possible cost reductions for people without insurance.

Pharmacy care clinics

Pharmacies, including the pharmacies inside major national chains such as Walmart, often provide preventive care services for free. These services are normally provided during health clinics held on specific days.

Services offered can vary but typically include:

You can check with your local pharmacy about any upcoming clinics, or search online for pharmacy clinics in your area.

Teaching hospitals

If you have a teaching hospital in your area, you might be able to receive care at a reduced rate. The exact care you can access at a reduced rate depends on the hospital and the needs of the medical students.

You can call the teaching hospital and ask whether they offer any reduced cost care.

Employer-sponsored wellness programs

Some employers offer wellness programs to their employees. In many cases, this includes preventive healthcare, such as annual vaccines and healthcare screenings.

You can check in with your human resources department if you’re not sure what healthcare benefits are part of your employer’s wellness program.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics

You can use the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics website to search for health clinics and pharmacies in your area that offer free or low cost services.

The association is dedicated to caring for people who are uninsured or underinsured. There are more than 1,400 clinics and pharmacies in the association.

If you need assistance paying for care, you have a handful of options:

Charity care

Some states offer charity care that reduces the cost of medical care for people who meet income requirements. If you qualify, you can receive low cost or free medical care.

In certain states, people are screened automatically. In other states, you will need to apply for the program.


Medicaid is a federal program that provides healthcare for people who meet income requirements. Each state oversees its own Medicaid program. Income limits and exact coverage vary by state.

You can find your state’s Medicaid website here.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a federal program that provides healthcare for children. Just like Medicaid, qualifying for the program depends on income level. Each state sets its own income limits and coverage varies.

You can read about CHIP in your state here.

The Hill-Burton program

The Hill-Burton program provides funds to participating hospitals and healthcare facilities in exchange for offering a set amount of free or low cost care to people who meet income requirements.

You will need to apply for the Hill-Burton program with the admissions or business department of the healthcare facility. You can find a directory of Hill-Burton facilities here.

Aunt Bertha

Aunt Bertha is a social and human services database you can search to find programs in your area. This includes programs that can help you pay for healthcare.

You can enter your ZIP code and a category to find programs that will meet your needs.

Keeping prescription costs low is a great way to lower your overall healthcare costs. Here are some options:

Prescription drug manufacturer programs

The makers of many prescription drugs offer programs to help people afford their medications. You can often join these programs to get your medication at low or no cost. You might need to meet certain income requirements to qualify.

You can use RXAssist to search a database of manufacturer programs.


GoodRx is a website that will show you the prices of your medication at stores in your local area. It can also show prices at online and mail-order pharmacies. By comparing pharmacies, you can find the lowest price.

Plus, GoodRx will even help you find coupons and manufacturer discounts.

Pharmacy memberships

Walmart, CVS, and other pharmacies have membership programs that can save you money. By signing up for these programs, you can get access to discounts on your medication. You can also earn discounts to use on other pharmacy purchases.

Grants for charitable organizations can cover your medical costs. Some examples include:

The PAN Foundation

The PAN Foundation helps uninsured people who have received a diagnosis of a life threatening, chronic, or rare disease pay for their medical care. You can see a list of conditions the foundation currently provides assistance for on its website.

If you have a condition listed on the site, you can instantly check your eligibility and can then apply online for a grant.

The HealthWell Foundation

The HealthWell Foundation helps uninsured people with certain medical conditions pay for their medical expenses. You can see their list of covered conditions on its website.

If you have a condition covered on the site, you can apply for a grant that will cover your medical expenses.

Good Days

Good Days is an organization that can help people with chronic and acute conditions pay for their medical treatments. You can check out the list of covered conditions here.

Applications for assistance are available in both English and Spanish.

There are a few additional options you can explore to get access to lower cost or free healthcare. If you haven’t already, consider doing the following:

  • Ask the hospital or doctor’s office about installment payment programs.
  • Search for programs specific to a health condition you have.
  • Apply for low cost health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • If you’re a veteran, apply for VA benefits.
  • Sign up for clinical trials in your area to help researchers study new treatments.
  • Consider telehealth for conditions that don’t need in-person care.

You can learn more about accessing medical care without insurance by reading answers to common questions.

When can I enroll in Medicaid?

If you qualify for Medicaid, you can enroll at any time. Check out your state’s Medicaid website for income limits and other details.

What if I can’t pay an emergency room bill?

In an emergency, getting care is your No. 1 priority. But this can leave you with a bill that is outside of your budget, especially if you don’t have insurance.

However, medical bills are often negotiable. In many cases, you can call the hospital’s billing department to work out a plan.

If you’re unable to work out a plan with the hospital, there are nonprofit organizations that can help you apply for debt forgiveness.

Will healthcare professionals treat me if I don’t have insurance?

It’s illegal for healthcare professionals to refuse care in an emergency.

This isn’t the case for nonemergency care. Most healthcare professionals will list payments they accept on their websites.

If private pay is listed, you can get treatment without insurance. If it’s not, it’s best to call in advance to make sure the healthcare professional accepts patients who don’t have insurance.

You have options for receiving medical care even when you don’t have health insurance. There are several sources you can turn to for care, prescriptions, payment help, and more. Some programs are limited to certain states or certain health conditions.

Additionally, you will need to meet income requirements to qualify for some of these programs. If you don’t, options like telehealth and urgent care can help you cut costs.

You can also look into getting affordable insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

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