Sick and Uninsured

There’s something to be said about moving to New York City and building up a tolerable immune system. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months, and in my case (most cases, I imagine), at least a good year. One cannot escape the icky germs and various illnesses thriving on surfaces and among the passersby and those who come and go, in and out of the city.

When I first moved here I became rather ill and consulted my primary care physician in PA; I still had insurance. In early August, I came down with the common head cold. Who gets sick during the summer, I irritatedly thought. Here I am, sick and uninsured in New York City with no doctor and but a handful of iffy health care clinics from which to choose.

I stubbornly thought I could ride it out and kick the cold with home remedies and an immune system made of steel (my immune system is so not made of steel). I finally sought the practical and “unbiased” opinions of Yelp reviewers and asked friends for suggested clinics. Per my roommate’s advice, I first contacted Callen Lorde Community Health Center in Chelsea. I appreciated the clinic’s general mission statement and felt positive following reading the reviews.

As it would unfortunately turn out, Callen Lorde was no longer accepting new general care patients so the woman on the other end of the line provided the name of a walk-in clinic to try. Note the words “walk-in” — this clinic did not accept appointments. I was sick and tired of coughing up a lung so I visited New York Doctors Urgent Care in Greenwich Village one afternoon.

After having waited about an hour and a half to finally see a doctor — he was in and out in about five minutes, naturally — I was prescribed an antibiotic and was on my way. Only the antibiotic apparently didn’t work because here I am, typing this blog from bed, sick again.

I’m at a loss as to what to do here. The walk-in clinic cost me $125 up front because I don’t have insurance and it didn’t offer a sliding scale, as some other clinics do. Then I had to pay for the prescription. This time around, I bought a Neti Pot (probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever done) and some Delsym, but it’s just not working.

Quite frankly, I’m annoyed and disheartened the original antibiotic didn’t work. Was I intentionally prescribed a medication that may or may not work so I’d be forced to return to the health clinic and spend additional money that I can’t afford to spend? Who knows? I trust health care as much as I trust the government. Help!

*Photo courtesy Patrick Hoesly, Flickr

3 thoughts on “Sick and Uninsured

  1. Jana-
    A few options-

    1. Were you eligible for COBRA from your previous employ?
    2. Through age 26 you can be on your parent’s plan and pay them the difference.
    3. Individual plans from Empire Blue Cross/Shield. In PA, they go about $135 -150 per month. Office visits and Rx included.

    Good Luck,



  2. sorry to here your not feeling well , you most likely have a virus , antibiotics don’t work on a virus . right now i’m going through it to . i don’t think i’m as sick as you ,but it still sucks not feeling good.


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