In the United States, a lack of access to healthcare is a real concern for many. This can be because of a physical inability to access healthcare due to physical limitations of the patient or his or her geographical location, or because the patient does not have sufficient healthcare coverage to pay for the services he or she needs. Although both can result in no treatment for the patient, these are two distinct problems.

In certain situations, a doctor cannot refuse to treat a patient because the patient lacks healthcare insurance. This is the only situation under which an inability to access healthcare can qualify as an act of medical malpractice.

Qualifying for Medicaid or Medicare

Individuals with few assets can qualify for Medicaid, a government insurance option that provides healthcare benefits for individuals with low incomes. You could also qualify for Medicare, which provides healthcare benefits for individuals over the age of 65 and individuals under 65 who have qualifying disabilities. You may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Do not assume that you cannot qualify for SSDI if you cannot afford to seek medical treatment. You will need to show evidence of your disability through a prior medical record, which turns many legitimately disabled individuals away from seeking the benefits they can qualify to receive. A disability examiner can send you to have a consultative exam with a private physician, which can provide the evidence necessary to demonstrate your disability to the SSA.

Were you Denied Treatment?

Regardless of your coverage, if you arrive to a hospital or urgent care center with an emergency, the hospital’s staff is required to stabilize your condition. This is required by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).

If you suffered a worsened condition because a doctor abandoned you, you can file a medical malpractice claim citing how the abandonment caused you to suffer specific financial damages, such as medical bills and a reduced quality of life.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you are disabled, you can qualify for certain government benefits. If you are denied these benefits, you can appeal the SSA’s decision and potentially receive the coverage you sought. In some cases, a lack of healthcare coverage leads to an individual being denied the treatment he or she needs, which can be deemed to be an act of malpractice. To learn more about your rights regarding treatment, healthcare coverage, and acts of malpractice as well as your rights if you are injured by one, contact our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Baizer Kolar, P.C. to set up your initial consultation with a member of our firm. We are a small, close-knit team of medical malpractice lawyers who work together to help our clients seek the compensation they deserve.