Lifewatch: Many Americans are losing health insurance

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Many Americans have not only lost their jobs, but they have lost their health insurance as well.  Now, thousands are making visits to their physicians to get medical advice before it's too late.

Katie Hoody is a healthy 33 year old, but her doctor is running extensive tests.

"I just wanted to have everything checked out to be sure that I was in good health before going off of the insurance," said Hoody.

Hoody is a part of a growing number of people who are cramming in medical care while they have insurance.

"What's interesting is I am seeing more and more patients wanting to do that screening colonoscopy before they have their insurance loss, so in some ways, it can be really good in preventative care," said family physician Dr. Jane Sadler.

Dr. Sadler said she's moving some patients to generic drugs, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and talking cash plans.

"Some medical offices do allow significant discounts for cash pay patients and I know that some of these discounts may be 20, 30 percent," said Sadler.

Varicose vein treatments have also been in high demand.

"People are coming in going, 'I don't want to get to this point, but my insurance runs out in 3 months, 6 months, 2 months,'" said Cindy Brown who works for a doctor.

With so many uncertainties, doctors say control what you can and live a healthy lifestyle.

Doctors warn there is a downside to getting screened for everything.  If anything bad turns up, you'll have a hard time getting reasonably price health insurance next time around because of pre-existing conditions.