Where Do You Go for Health Care in Chicago?

I found a similar post in the New York forums and decided to pose the question here in Chicago. Are you lucky enough to have health insurance? Have the "health care reforms" helped YOU? I don't have any insurance and I haven't seen how the health care reforms are helping me. On the contrary - I heard that eventually I will be fined for not having health insurance. (WHAAA???) My health care provider is a local clinic that recruits people to participate in medical studies for high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. I am prone to high blood pressure and I found them about 6 years ago through a newspaper ad. They've been calling me back every 3-6 months ever since. Each time, they give me a quick check-up. My BP has never been high enough to participate in a study, but it's been higher than normal. So I get a prescription for a diuretic ($12 for a 3 month supply) and a follow-up appointment. AND they reimburse me for my travel costs. Talk about a win-win situation!

Aside from participating in the few medical studies I can find (because there's not enough wrong with me), my only other option is my local county (public) hospital's emergency room. Yes, Chicago has many state-of-the-art, renowned hospitals. But they don't treat you for free unless you can prove you are indigent. I had a minor experience 5 years ago that landed me in Northwestern's ER for an overnight stay. The cost was over $4000. Because I had only a part-time/contract job at the time, I was able to negotiate my cost down to half of that. But it was still a struggle to pay them off and it took a year to do it.

So, the main question is: If you DON'T have employer subsidized health insurance - on your own or through a spouse/domestic partner - what do you do?
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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