7 ways to find affordable health care
Health care, like many commodities nowadays, is becoming more costly than ever. Prescription medications, surgery, inpatient care—the prices of all of these things are skyrocketing. With such high prices, how do you manage to find health care that you can easily afford and still have enough money left over to pay for the other things that you need and want? This article will show you seven ways in which you can do so.
1) Using the telephone or going online
The doctors of today may no longer make house calls, but you can get a diagnosis for your condition through “remote doctor.” Teladoc is one example of such a service—here you can get access to any physician—and those who work from them work in all areas, from pediatrics to family practice—who has been certified by some medical board. Video conferencing is also available and the practitioner whom you contact will even be able to tell you whether your condition requires the attention of a specialist. It costs no more than $40 to use this service.
2) Visiting a retail clinic
All of the major drug stores—including Rite Aid, CVS and Wallgreen—now have retail clinics operating in their buildings. You do not need to make an appointment to visit them. Here you can get screened for high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. Nurse practitioners are also present to give treatment for minor cuts, scrapes and burns, eye and ear infections and a variety of other conditions. You can have prescriptions made out to you here as well.
3) Visiting an emergency department
Like retail clinics, emergency departments can be visited without first making an appointment. Visiting them is a good idea if you cannot see your regular medical care provider. They are also open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
4) Seeing a health center
Most cities in the United States have federally-funded centers that will help those who have no health insurance. Many rural areas have them as well; do a search at http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx to see if there is such a place in your area. Here patients can get checkups and immunizations and be treated when they get sick. In addition to medical care, such health centers also provide dental work, drug abuse and mental health treatment.
5) “Medical tourism”
Medical tourism is in many respects a complete 180 degree turn from earlier days when people from poorer countries would come to the United States and Europe to get the health care that they could not receive in their own homelands. Now, with the rising costs of medicine in the developed world, many Americans and Europeans are going to Costa Rica, India, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and other developing nations to get treatment at a cheaper price. In the case of Malaysia, for instance, about 600,000 foreigners pour into the country each year seeking medical care. Given the improvement in the quality of health care in these nations over the past few years, this fact should come as no surprise. Adding to the situation is the increased ease with which information on medicine in foreign countries can be obtained. There are also many companies that make a livelihood out of helping clients find the country that offers the cheapest treatment for their particular ailments. Different countries offer the best deals for different procedures. Thus dental treatment is best sought in Mexico, while India excels in knee and cardiac surgery and various other things.
6) Public health programs
This method apply specifically to parents seeking it for their children. CHIP is a federally-funded program that covers children of working parents age 18 or under who may qualify based on the income of their parents.
7) Getting health insurance
The most important method of all is to buy a health insurance plan so that you will not have to pay all your medical bills from your own pockets. Find out what policy your job offers and what it covers
As you can see there are many ways in which you can get the care you need when you feel sick or suffer from an injury at a reasonable price.
Carol is an Assisted Living Today blogger, helping families find care that meets their special needs!
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