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Children’s Medical Care
Children need lots of medical care for vaccinations,
routine checkups, sniffles, sore throats and fevers. Look
into local and state resources that provide assistance based on financial need. Check
with your local state or local health department. Most of these agencies can refer
you to affordable health care providers that offer sliding scale fees based on your
Don't skip children's vaccinations. Kids
and teens – and even adults, need to stay up to date with their immunizations. Many
retail clinics offer affordable vaccinations. Local
health departments offer health and wellness services through hospital community outreach
programs, at affordable costs to the community. Contact
your village hall for more information.
You should first try to phone
or email your pediatrician's office with basic questions. You can often avoid a costly
trip to the emergency room by taking advantage of telephone counseling for many routine
kinds of problems.
Doctor Visits and Medical Tests
Skipping doctor appointments could be risky
and you could end up spending more money later on for expensive emergency treatment
or health consequences for more severe conditions. Be
sure to follow through with preventive care.
Take care of your health --- it’s your most
important resource. A healthy lifestyle
can pay off – literally. Your good health
makes you wealthy. Think about it, if
you are healthy, you might need fewer prescription drugs, you might be less likely
to develop high-maintenance conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood
pressure. Your insurance premiums might
even be reduced.
Eat healthy foods, exercise, and lose the
extra weight. Even simple walks can make
a huge difference in your overall health. Walking is free and you can walk anywhere!
Negotiate with your doctor, or the financial
counselor at your doctor's office, about medical test costs and office visits. If
you are uninsured or have a high-deductible plan, providers will often provide you
with a big discount (up to 70%) for paying cash at time of service. If
the discount they offer is not a fair price, offer to pay the Medicare rate (these
rates are public information).
Research your local and state health resources. Look
into community health centers (which typically charge fees on a sliding scale), free
clinics, and local or state programs for children. A
community center charges as little as $20 for what an urgent care center will charge
around $110 and most doctors’ office charges $120. You
can save a lot of money by being a savvy consumer. If
you have children and meet certain income standards, check with your state or local
health department about insurance.
If you are uninsured, investigate what coverage
you may be eligible for, that you might not know about.
Don't use the emergency room for problems
that aren't emergencies. Because emergency
rooms are overwhelmed, you may wait hours to be seen. And if you're paying out-of-pocket,
you could wind up with a very expensive bill, which you will be responsible for.
Prescription Drug Costs
Ask your doctor about generic drugs and over-the-counter
drugs. Many people respond as well from
generic drugs as on brand-name drugs. Generic
drugs are a lot more affordable. Be
sure to ask your doctor if you can get higher-dose pills to cut in half because high
and low doses of drugs often cost the same amount. Cutting
your pills in half not only makes your pills last longer, but you can save a lot of
money. For instance, a patient who takes
20-milligram doses each day of a drug that costs $100 per month could save $600 a
year if his doctor prescribes a 40-milligram dose and the patient cuts each pill in
half. Be aware that some pills
don’t work properly if they are split so ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Shop around and compare costs for the best
price on your prescription drugs. The
cost of your prescription drugs may vary a great deal across different pharmacies.
Look into drug companies' assistance programs. Drug
companies offer assistance programs to help cover medication costs for people who
meet certain financial criteria.
Consider your Medicare Part D plan. If
you're 65 or older, or have Medicare because of a disability, you can switch Medicare
Part D plans each year from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, so you may want to assess whether
your current plan is still the best deal for you.
Store your pills correctly. Heat,
moisture, and darkness can reduce the potency of the medication. You
spend a lot of money on your prescription drugs so be careful how you store them to
Be careful with promotions for expensive drugs.
If your doctor gives you a card offering a one-time deal on an expensive prescription
drug, you might want to remember that that deal won't help you if you refill that
prescription. Keep in mind that
you are going to have to pay for the refill out-of-pocket.