Many low income families struggle to access and pay for the healthcare they need. Or they are living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford the extra supplies or miss a days worth of income. While the information on the Novel Coronavirus outbreak is changing by the hour and day, there are resources to help the working poor, Americans with little or no insurance, and struggling families get assistance if/when the Coronavirus continues to spread. Many companies, including utility providers, are also offering relief to customers.
There are places that may provide, in an emergency, free cleaning supplies as well as personal hygiene items. Get free or low cost masks (including N95 masks), soap, disinfectant wipes, tissues, hand sanitizers and similar goods. Community clinics can provide testing, vaccinations in an emergency, advice from doctors or medical professionals, and others. Government assistance programs assist the low income to help them prepare or deal with the Coronavirus. In addition, drug and pharmaceutical companies are also trying to develop vaccinations as well as provide assistance, both for this outbreak and year round. Businesses are also offering more payment plans for credit card, utility bills, and other expenses.
Now the Novel Coronavirus has barely impacted the US up to this point. Be sure to put it into perspective. After all, on average tens of millions of Americans get the flu each year with several or tens of thousand or deaths. Therefore the current impact of the Coronavirus is minimal and people really should have more “fear” of the yearly flu virus/bug – it is always interesting to us that what people do or don’t fear, as most people do not use data or critical thinking.
The risk here is at this time, the data on the Novel Coronavirus shows it has a mortality rate (death rate) of 2% or so vs the flu of .002%, so the Coronavirus is 1000 times deadlier in its current state. Another potential risk that viruses can “evolve”/change during an outbreak, and that is always a fear in the medical community.
That being said….as noted, Americans should not be concerned yet. They need to keep perspective and realize that thousands of people die from the flu each year, tens of thousands of Americans die from poor health/obesity/diabetes (that can sometimes be prevented), or thousands die from unsafe driving like texting, etc. The point being, put things in perspective based on data. But they be staying updated.
Financial aid or payment plans
Most utility companies will not cut off their customers service during the Coronavirus pandemic. Water, electric, and gas companies are postponing any disconnections of service if you do not pay your light, water, or gas bill. Hundreds of providers around the nation are offering relief.
In addition, phone companies as well as internet service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast will also not disconnect utility service. They want their customers to have access to information as well as the ability to communicate if and when needed. Read more on utility bill help during Coronavirus outbreak.
Evictions are also be banned during the Coronavirus outbreak. HUD, states, section 8 agencies, and many cities are preventing landlords from evicting families or individuals due to unpaid rent. This assistance program will help families stay safe and housed during this crisis. More on Coronavirus eviction banning.
Free Coronavirus cleaning supplies, wipes, hygiene items, prescription drugs, masks, and other items
In general, there are a few different places that give out free supplies to low income households to help them stay healthy. As far as saving money on items, including masks such as N95 or hygiene items, there are coupons, rebate or cash back websites, and similar sources. There are a few reports of masks being sold out in the US, so always keep in mind that if the Coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, and in the US, supplies as well as any assistance will be very hard to get. As noted, it is best to prepare well in advance.
Coronavirus Supplies including face masks, gloves, bleach, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, wipes, tissues and more may be found at a few places. There are places to try to get help for low cost or free goods that may help prevent the Coronavirus, and that may be an emergency food pantry near you or thrift store for low cost, gently used goods. There is always a need for clothes too, and another option for medical supplies may be a clothing closet.
Mobile food pantries can also help feed the general public. National non-profits, like Feeding America, help feed families, the unemployed, furloughed workers and others in need. The mobile pantries are meeting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic as many other food banks have been shut down. All locations will honor social distancing rules too. Find mobile food pantries for Coronavirus help.
Anyone, whether low income or the wealthy, can of course purchase their own Corona virus supplies. If the outbreak ramps up and impacts more people in the US, it may take a lot of time to get a masks, soap or gloves and other goods as they will probably be on backorder. But anyone can save money on Coronavirus supplies. Another option is to save money, and use coupons, websites, cash rebate sites and other tools. Try resources for free coupons.
A number of pharmaceutical companies are also developing Coronavirus vaccines as well as treatments. While the process is ongoing, the fact is that many drug companies offer assistance to the uninsured as well as low income. Vaccines, medications, equipment, and other help is out there, and read more on applying for free prescription drugs.
Low cost or free Coronavirus exams for the low income
Low income as well as uninsured people can try to get free emergency exams as well as checkups for the flu or Novel Coronavirus or other healthcare issues as well. Volunteer doctors, nurses, “regular people”, dentists, and many others offer help from their work at community clinics. The health centers can offer a number of medical assistance programs, including prescription drugs, basic medical equipment, immunizations and more. If and when needed, Coronavirus exams may be given, and find a free healthcare community clinic near you.
The uninsured and low income can of course look into low cost or even free government health care resources for the Coronavirus. Some are paid for by federal government and some are offered by each state. The downside is that these are not emergency resources but could take time to enroll as well as apply. These government programs are not the same as community clinics mentioned above. Learn more on free insurance plans.
Charities as well as non-profits also offer assistance around medical needs. Whether they will help with the Coronavirus or not, time will tell. But there are local as well as national organizations that give free medical equipment, that may help pay insurance deductibles or medical bills, address co-payments and other expenses. Learn more about financial help from charities for medical bills. As noted, these are general programs for the low income and not necessarily focused on the Coronavirus outbreak.
Places for information about the Novel Coronavirus
Government resources that help spread true, accurate, legit information are always out there too. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is one of the best places to learn the truth of the Coronavirus outbreak. As there will be countless other news and internet stories out there, some false or exaggerated (like fake news) and others that will be legitimate. However, the CDC is always a great source. More on CDC Coronavirus information.
There are bound to be many scams and false reports out there about the Coronavirus. Maybe price gouging as well. Always use a real, well known legitimate source of information, such as the CDC or a major news publication. Be aware of scams on how effective or buying Coronavirus N95 face masks, incorrect medical information, how many people may be impacted or not. Unfortunately, many scams are targeted at the low income, seniors, vulnerable, immigrants, and under educated. Be mindful, and learn more about identifying and preventing scams.
Bottom line on Coronavirus
At this time, the Coronavirus is very minimal in its impact to the US. In fact, as noted, the flu impacts millions of people each year and kills tens of thousands of Americans, whether they are low income, rich or poor. The real risk of the Coronavirus is that the mortality/death rate of Coronavirus is about 2% vs the flue of .002% , so the Coronavirus is about 1000 times more lethal.
No one should panic, but it always a good idea to “plan for the worst and hope for the best”. That is a good concept for many things in life. Just like if you live in a storm prone area, you should have flashlights and basic supplies. If a hurricane is bearing down, you should get some household supplies well in advance – maybe the hurricane never hits or maybe it does, but be prepared. The point is when it comes to something like the Coronavirus, maybe getting a couple supplies in advance is a low risk – high reward approach.
Of course, if the Coronavirus gets closer or more impactful, the demand for supplies, tests, and medical care will be tremendous. Usually the low income are “left behind”. That is why a list of resources for Novel Coronavirus assistance programs are always good to think about.