Having been without medical insurance at various periods of our lives, we've found that working on preventing conditions, being creative and doing lots of research (nowadays via the Internet) is key. It's also important to know when you do need the medical system.
One of the biggest and best things we did was to lower our stress substantially by getting out of the rat race after too many years of high stress. Our income was greatly reduced but we found ways to keep going by full time RVing and working part time for three years. We saved the money from the sale of our previous home, then added a chunk out of a retirement account to buy a place in an area we love, so we no longer have mortgage stress. We made sure the property taxes were low. Imagine not having to earn $800 to $1,200 a month extra just to pay to live somewhere of your choosing! We like to hike and explore and are next to one of the biggest public lands areas in the U.S. (We could literally hike out of our neighborhood to the Pacific Crest Trail.) It is much easier to stay in shape without a gym membership than it was in the cities we lived in previously. At the same time, we can walk or bicycle just about anywhere in our town and do the majority of our errands and shopping that way. (Electric bikes made from kits added to regular bikes help when it is really windy or we go more than 3 miles.) We have a twentieth of an acre - enough to grow a good portion of food for the two of us, which I am working toward. We've changed our food shopping habits to include organic or non-GMO wherever possible - partly as a way to vote with our dollars. I am seeing more and more such products in the two stores where we shop. The farmer's market is really expensive so we don't buy much there - we usually have produce from our own garden when it's in operation anyway.
An example of when prevention would likely have been better than the cure.
I recently had a Facebook friend die after a multi-year battle with cancer at age 59. She was a lawyer who trusted the conventional medical system to help her. She said it started out as breast cancer due to environmental causes. She'd always been somewhat stout and I suspect not eating the healthiest of diets. She made it sound like she was overcoming things and it wasn't until 9 months before she died that I messaged her and asked if any of the oncologists or medical staff had mentioned nutrition or other alternatives to her. She said no. I also sent her a link to the Truth About Cancer website but think she was by then too tired to keep fighting. I feel that if she had not had insurance, she would have been avidly researching for other alternatives and chances are good she would still be alive today.
Hubby and I delivered Christmas trees one year and at the end of the month, he had a back attack and started throwing up. He'd never had any back trouble before so we were afraid it might be his appendix. I got on the computer to research appendicitis symptoms and they didn't match. He mentioned back pain so I crushed up some Vicodin (left over from another ailment) and put it under his tongue so he wouldn't throw it up. This did relax the back muscles and stopped the vomiting so we figured it was back spasms from him having too much fun tossing trees around. Result - a valuable experience for both of us and we avoided the expense and discomfort of an ER visit, which would likely have included unnecessary tests.
Another example is ear infections - I simply take a bit of gel from a garlic pill, put it in the ear, and that works within a couple of days every time.
If I feel a cold coming on - and sometimes even after my nose has started running - I start on garlic pills (could also use fresh garlic but there's an associated odor) and rest as soon as possible. I make sure to tell myself, "I don't want to be sick" or "I don't want this cold, go away" (rather than, "Oh no, I've got a cold" with the implication that there's now nothing to be done about it). I look at it as a cold trying to catch me rather than me trying to catch a cold. This has prevented/turned around at least twenty colds in the past 10 years. Only got caught by one, a real doozy, recently - and then I figured it probably gave my immune system a good workout.
Research and knowing when to seek medical advice:
Currently we are on Medicaid and I've been having foot problems for the last 6 months. Did a lot of research and tried a bunch of things but they didn't match my symptoms and I didn't get relief (although I'm happy to say I didn't make things worse). I finally was able to see my primary care guy who immediately prescribed two different types of drugs because he wasn't sure what the problem was either - I tried one medication but refused the other after reading the side effects. Since the problem continued, I was sent to a physical therapy office and saw four different PTs over six visits. Each had a different idea of what might be the problem and a different set of exercises for me to follow - they did not coordinate care. Don't know if it was because I didn't have standard (i.e. "non-poverty") insurance or just the way this office operated. Podiatrists aren't covered in our state by Medicaid so I paid a sports injury chiropractor who immediately diagnosed the issue as "pronation syndrome" which was something I'd not come across in my research on foot pain. It was worth spending $99 to get help with understanding the problem since I can now do further research - everyone else was trying to tell me I had plantar fasciitis, which was not matched by my symptoms.
Other times when we paid for medical emergency care: My hubby broke his wrist and went to the ER - we didn't have the $200 they charged and they let us pay off over time. Our daughter tripped and split her chin and we also ended up paying over time to another ER for the stitches. That was when ER visits were cheap - if that happened these days and we weren't insured, we'd go to Urgent Care. Note: Supposedly hospitals cannot refuse to treat you if you have life threatening symptoms regardless of insurance - I think it helps to have a persistent, squeaky wheel type person with you if they are reluctant to take you in.
So, bottom line, do what's right for your body as much as possible, be your own advocate (or find someone who will advocate for you) and educate yourself about what is going on rather than turning it all over to the "experts," regardless of whether you have insurance or not. It is a real chore sometimes to spend time on doing so rather than recreating, but it does pay dividends in my opinion.