New Year’s Resolution: Make your health care dollars go further this year
Posted Apr 06 2009 11:15pm
New Year! Spending wisely for health care services is definitely a priority
in 2009 and with a little knowledge; you can easily save hundreds –even thousands
of dollars. To get you started, here are some excellent tips on how you
can save money on routine health care services.
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Medical Care Services
by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), there are thousands of
health centers around the U.S. that provide low-cost health care to people based on
financial need. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. For more information
or you can call (888) 275-4772.
There are around 200 Hill-Burton health care facilities around the country that offer
free or reduced-cost health care for people that cannot afford to pay for services.
To locate a facility or to see if you qualify, visitwww.hrsa.gov/hillburton or
These are privately funded, non-profit, community-based clinics that typically provide
care for common illnesses and injuries to those in need, at little or no cost. There
are around 1,000 free clinics nationwide. To locate one in your area, call your local
hospital or visitwww.freemedicalcamps.comfor
Health Service (IHS):A
government agency within the Department of Health and Human Service, IHS provides
free medical care to American Indians and Alaska Natives in 35 states. Visitwww.ihs.govfor
A non-profit, charitable organization that provides free health, dental and eye care
to uninsured or underinsured people in remote areas of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia
but may be expanding to other states in the future. Visitwww.ramusa.orgor
call (865) 579-1530.
Eye Care/Vision Services >
locate free or discounted eye care or eye glasses programs in your area, you should
contact your local Lions Club. Call 800-747-4448 to get the number to your state Lions
Club office, which can refer you to your community representative, or visitwww.lionsclubs.org.
There are also a variety of national eye care programs that can help you too including:
a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that provides
free eye health educational materials and access to medical eye care. Visitwww.eyecareamerica.orgor
call (800) 222-3937.
free vision care services to uninsured and low-income workers and their families.
call (800) 766-4466.
free cataract surgery to people who don't have Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance
and are low-income. Visitwww.missioncataractusa.orgor
call (800) 343-7265.
Eyes for the Needyis
an eyeglass program that accepts donations of used prescription eyeglasses and distributes
them to people with limited incomes. Visitwww.neweyesfortheneedy.orgor
call (973) 376-4903.
Dental Care >
people with health insurance do not have dental insurance. Here are some affordable
options, depending on where you live. Call your state dental association, or
local dental society (visitwww.ada.org/ada/organizations)
to find out if there are any state or local programs, or clinics, that offer discounted
dental care to those with limited income. Other sources you should checkout:
In addition to low-cost health care, many HRSA health centers also offer dental care
call (888) 275-4772.
If you don't mind letting a dental student work on your teeth, dental schools are
another source that may offer discounted dental care. Visitwww.ada.org-
click on “Dental Schools” for a U.S. directory and contact information.
Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicappedis
a service that provides free dental care for elderly and disabled people who can't
afford to pay. To learn more or to apply for care in your state, visitwww.nfdh.orgor
You Eligible for Medicaid or Assistance Programs? >
These tips were provided byJim
contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
you need to have blood tests done, you have several options on where you can go to
get affordable lab tests.
you are looking for preventive testing, consider attending health
fairs at schools and churches. A company called Life Line Screening offers finger
stick blood tests for glucose and lipid panel (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides)
for $60. Results are provided on the spot. Go to lifelinescreening.com or call 800-697-9721
to find out when the next local screening is scheduled.
be sure to contact community centers, library,
and YMCA or village
hall. These organizations often schedule affordable blood screening fairs
once or twice a year. Check with the health services department of your village
or township to get more information.
the need for additional tests comes up during a regular checkup, you can start by
asking your doctor to cut the cost—to cost. Ask whether you can get involved in a
clinical study; that way the blood work might be done for free.
Non-profit hospitals and most other
teaching and community hospitals offer a sliding fee scale of discounts for people
with no health benefits or insurance, but you have to ask. Call the hospital's financial
services office and tell them your situation. Or, offer to pay in cash-- you just
might get you a discount.
clinics are another option, but you have to make an appointment to see a doctor
first. You'll be billed for the tests, but the hospital will help connect you with
services you might be eligible for. Also check out community health centers.
while it might be hard to discuss, tell the doctor—or office manager—your financial
situation and see what he or she recommends.
sure to check out some of the online lab ordering websites including DirectLabs, LabSafe, MedLabUSA, MyMedLab and PrivateMDLabs.
These lab sites offer large discounts and have drawing centers located in many different