Having insurance doesn't always mean you can afford to go to the doctor. For those who have insurance and are still in need of services, there's a free health clinic rolling into Taneytown on July 8 that is accepting appointments.
The nonprofit, A Mission of Mercy, will bring its Mobile Medical Unit to Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church to provide free doctors appointments and low-cost medications for those in Carroll County who cannot afford care on their own.
The uninsured and underinsured are both accepted as patients, according to spokeswoman Diane DeMarco, who said there is a surprising number of people who still need such services despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"There is a misconception that with the Affordable Care Act, everyone has coverage," she said. "However, the reality is that many people have insurance, but still cannot afford to go to the doctor or get needed medical tests and medications due to high deductibles, co-pays, and expensive medications."
Appointments are available for both new and existing clients on July 8, as well as during upcoming Taneytown clinic dates on Aug.12 and Sept. 2. Those interested should call 410-833-5870 and leave a message, according to DeMarco. A volunteer will call back to set the appointment.
Walk-ins are accepted, but it is not guaranteed that they will be seen.
A Mission of Mercy has been serving Carroll County, along with Brunswick, Frederick and Reisterstown, since 1995 and recently purchased its new Mobile Medical Unit — a specially equipped RV — in February. Today, many of Mission of Mercy's mobile clinic clients are people who are working and make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can afford only the lowest-quality health care plans through the Affordable Care Act, according to Jennifer White, development manager.
"These are the working poor," she said. "Unfortunately, because of their income limitations, they would choose the policies with very low premiums, and those polices have deductibles between $3,000 and $10,000."
For people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, who need to be seen multiple times a year and need medication, White said that the out-of-pocket costs before meeting a high deductible are simply unmanageable.
"When you are in that situation, even with those kinds of doctors visits, you still can't meet your deductible," she said. "You would be going to the doctor paying a thousand dollars a year for doctors visits and medications. Where does that come from?"