Flaticon Icon Where do I get healthcare in the USA?

As a newcomer to the USA, you need to know where you'll get healthcare when you're sick or hurt.

Where you go for treatment will be different for emergencies and non-emergencies.

If You Have An Emergency

Flaticon Icon Common emergency signs and symptoms:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Uncontrolled pain

  • Broken/hurt bone

  • Bleeding

Flaticon Icon What To Do

Flaticon Icon Call 911

  • Tell the dispatcher what language you speak

  • Tell them where you are

  • Tell them what the emergency is

Flaticon Icon Go To The Emergency Room

  • Found at general hospitals

  • Open every day and all night

  • Can help illness and injury that needs to be treated right away

What If It's Not An Emergency?

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Common non-emergency symptoms:

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose

  • Stomach discomfort

Flaticon Icon Where To Go

Flaticon Icon Urgent Care

  • Usually at the hospital, for less serious illness or pain

  • Different locations have different hours, look before you go

Flaticon Icon Doctors Office

Flaticon Icon Free clinics

  • Google to find them in your area

  • Can walk in or make an appointment


You have some pain from a leg injury you had in the past. It hurts a little but you can walk ok. What should you do?

Where Can I Buy Medication?

Flaticon Icon You can buy medication at a pharmacy (sometimes called a drug store), at a corner store, or the supermarket.

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For some medication, you'll need a prescription, which means a doctor has to sign a paper for you before you can buy it.

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For other medication, you don't need a prescription. This type of medication is called over-the-counter medication.

Pain Medications To Buy At The Store

You can buy these over-the-counter medications at the store without a prescription:

A tylenol bottle on a night time table Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash


  • pain/fever

A box of ibuprofen Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash


  • pain/inflammation/fever

What Are My Rights?

Flaticon Icon To Have Access

  • Receive healthcare services and treatment that meet your needs

Flaticon Icon To Be Respected

  • Have your culture, identity, beliefs, and choices recognized and respected

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To Information

  • Understand benefits and risks of tests and treatments

  • Receive information about services, waiting times and costs

Flaticon Icon To Understand Your Care

  • They must provide an interpreter upon request

Flaticon Icon To Ask Questions

  • Medical staff must answer your questions

How Do I Pay For My Healthcare?

Flaticon Icon Health Insurance

  • An insurance company covers all or most of the costs

  • You might also have some Medicaid coverage

Flaticon Icon Out Of Pocket

  • Pay with your own money

  • Common for clinics

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Free Clinics

  • No cost to you

  • Ask your case manager or mentor to help you find the nearest one

Healthcare Insurance Portability And Accountability Act

The HIPAA logo

The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of your health information.

You have a right to:

  • Get a copy of your health records

  • Receive a copy of your doctor's or clinic's privacy practices

  • Ask that your health information not to be shared


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