My first year of college I dropped my parent's insurance on me to save them money and got a part time job with insurance, not great insurance, but at least I was covered. They told me that I either had to sign on full time or they'd have to let me go, so they let me go and I went looking for another job. Two months later, i was working a job with no insurance and was telling my parents to throw me back on their insurance and I'll just reimburse them for cost, but before they did I got appendicitis and had surgery and that was right after having two very infected ingrown toenails taken out.
I called three podiatrists, explained to each my situation and asked how the price was if I could pay cash before hand, all of them went pretty low but the last one said to come in and he'd do it at cost to help out a college kid. Ended up paying right around 60 bucks for the whole thing, plus purchasing some antibiotics.
The appendectomy totaled out to about 25,000 after I got all the separate doctor bills in, but after working with all of them, one of them dropped the charges (the anesthesiology team dropped the entire 750 I owed them), my surgeon went from 4000 down to 1000 if I signed a letter promising monthly payments and the hospital let me fill out a hardship form cutting their totals from nearly 20000 (for only 1 very short night in the hospital mind you) down to 6500 with a guarantee of monthly payments. It was tough to work it all off and pay for it on top of college costs and living expenses but I managed to pay it off around the same time I graduated.
I'll never go a day without insurance if there's anything I can do to help it, lol.