12 Ways to Save Money on Health Care
More Frugal Living Tips
In today's economy, saving money can be a pretty nifty thing. For some, living frugally and saving money is a natural thing to do and something they've always done. For others, being frugal is an entirely new concept and some people have no idea where to begin. Well, if you're one of those people, start here. This is part four in a series of money saving tips -- for more tips on saving even more money, see the rest of Isabella Snow's Frugal Living Series.
1. Free STD testing.
Many cities have free STD clinics. They are professional and confidential. If you don't have health insurance, take advantage of these organizations. If you have a curable STD (eg Gonorrhea or Chlamydia) they are usually easily treated with inexpensive antibiotics. Check your state's department of health website for more info. This isn't just for women, men need STD testing too !
2. Free PAP smears and Mammograms
PAP smears are important for the early detection of cervical cancer. Breast exams are equally important. All women, even those who can't afford them, need them on a regular basis. If you're American and cannot afford one on your own, visit the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program website to find out how you can get one for free or for a reduced fee. Planned Parenthood may be able to help you as well.
3. Free Prostate Exam
Men (understandably) don't like to talk about this kind of thing. That's ok, you don't need to talk about -- you just need to get it done. Check out theNPCC's free national mobile screening tour for details on when they'll be in your state. Or contact your local health department to find out where you can get a free screening -- the 3rd Week in September is Prostate Health Awareness Week and many universities will offer free screenings at this time.
4. Free vaccines.
Flu shots are often free in major cities, but other vaccinations are important as well. Adults living in the USA may be eligible for the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program if they meet these requirements (some exceptions possible if you've had a financial or medical hardship):
- are age 19 or older;
- reside in the United States (U.S. citizenship is not required);
- have no health insurance coverage; and
- have an annual household income less than $19,600 for individuals, $26,500 for couples, or $40,000 for a family of four.
5. Free screening for cholesterol and diabetes.
Yearly screenings for cholesterol and diabetes are a good idea. Many
pharmacies will have special days when the offer free cholesterol and
blood sugar testing. It's easy to do and will not take that much time. Call your local pharmacy and ask when the next screening will be.
6. Free or reduced price diabetic supplies.
This NIH website lists the many financial options available for diabetics. If you're American and have insurance, your company is obligated to cover your diabetes, and provide you with a testing device. If you've been laid off, it may be possible to extend your insurance for 18 months. If you have diabetes but don't have insurance at all, the Bureau of Primary Health Care offers healthcare to people regardless of whether or not they can afford to pay.
7. Sliding Scale psychiatric counseling.
If you need counseling but are unable to afford it, most cities have organizations that will provide rates based on your salary. Sometimes this will be free, sometimes you'll need to pay a small fee. Contact your local department of mental health for more information.
8. Buy generic medicines.
You don't need to buy brand name ibuprofen to get rid of your headache. Yes in some cases generic brands don't exist, but many times they do.
9. Exercise at home.
10. Quit smoking
Not only will this save your lungs, it will save you money.
11. Quit drinking alcohol.
Alcohol can cost a lot of money. Beer, not so much (well, not where I live) but good wine and spirits can cost a mint. If you can't stop drinking alcohol, at least reduce your consumption.
12. Free Drug and Alcohol Rehab
The Salvation Army provides completely free drug and alcohol treatment to people living in the USA. Call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (728-7825) for more information.