‘An Arm and a Leg’: No money, no job, no health care? Not always.

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If you don't have money and you don't have a job, what are your best options for getting health care?

It's 2023 open enrollment season, and a lot of Americans are shopping for health insurance plans. And some are weighing the risks of skipping health insurance altogether.

One listener wrote to "An Arm and a Leg" about his son, a student with no income who has aged out of the family's health insurance. He asked: If his son buys a plan, would he be signing away the possibility of getting charity care (financial assistance) at his local hospital?

To answer this question, podcast host Dan Weissmann relied on expert help from Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at KFF, and Jared Walker, founder of Dollar For and an expert on charity care.

If you want to go deeper:

  • "An Arm and a Leg" did a three-part series on picking health insurance in its First Aid Kit newsletter. Start here.
  • An episode from last year explored other do's and don'ts for picking health insurance.
  • In a 2018 episode, Weissmann talked with another listener — a "financial therapist" — who had her own deep questions about health insurance.

"An Arm and a Leg" is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

To keep in touch with "An Arm and a Leg," subscribe to the newsletter. You can also follow the show on Facebook and Twitter. And if you've got stories to tell about the health care system, the producers would love to hear from you.

To hear all KHN podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to "An Arm and a Leg" on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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