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No money, no job, no health care? Not always.

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 many Americans are shopping for health insurance plans. And some weigh 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 had aged out of the family’s health insurance. He asked: If his son bought a plan, would he be signing away the possibility of getting charity care (financial assistance) from 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 choosing health insurance in its First Aid Kit newsletter. Start here.
  • An episode from last year explored other dos and don’ts of choosing health insurance.
  • In a 2018 episode, Weissmann spoke to 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.

Subscribe to the newsletter to stay in touch with “An Arm and a Leg”. You can also follow the program on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have stories to tell about the health care system, the producers would love to hear from you.

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Kaiser Health NewsThis article is reprinted from khn.org with permission of 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 not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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