Health and Medical Money Saving Tips
These money saving tips, advice, and resources are offered to help you reduce expenses on health and medical care. Whether it be for preventative, maintenance, or treatment purposes, medical expenses can amount to a substantial expense in your household budget. Many families, with no insurance coverage, find themselves with serious debt obligations due to health care.
Many employers still do not offer health insurance to employees. Those families who are left to acquire insurance individually may find it cost prohibitive. Some fall into that inconvenient income level that does not meet the minimum guidelines for medical assistance, yet falls short of providing enough to pay for individual insurance plans.
The number of uninsured families, including an alarming number of children, is an issue I think our government needs to seriously address. Until then, we will just have to survive by our own wits! I hope some of these money saving tips and resources will help you reduce expenses in this area.
Apply for Benefits
My first among these money saving tips is that you should apply for any benefits that may be available to you. Most states have internet access that may provide income guidelines or questionnaires that help determine if you might possibly be eligible. Many families are eligible and do not know they qualify for medical assistance. Sometimes children are eligible even when adults in the family are not. Subsidized medical assistance generally includes dental and vision care for children under 18 years of age.
Many states also have a program for reduced health care in cooperation with local doctors and medical facilities. In my state, Maryland, it is called the "Reach" program. I participated in the program myself during a period where I found myself uninsured do to the closing of my employer's business. It is an excellent program.
While it is not insurance and will likely not cover emergency care, it is a good temporary option for those that qualify. I only had to pay $15 for my doctor visits. During that time I was also issued a discount prescription card.
For those who don't qualify, you can shop and compare multiple health insurance quotes for free.. With this free service, enter your information once and you are instantly matched with the most competitive companies in the business. You'll get back up to five quotes so you can compare and save.
Be sure to check out options for discount health plans (not an insurance) if insurance rates are just too costly for your budget. It could be a option to get you some savings, although you will not have the coverage that insurance provides. Make sure you do your research on these plans also. There are many out there with different types of coverage and at a wide range of costs.
Money Saving Tips for Dental Health
So often, dental health care is neglected; Usually, because it is cost prohibitive. Many employers who provide health insurance do not necessarily offer dental insurance. Even when they do, patient payment responsibilities for necessary procedures could still be cost prohibitive. Most are great for reducing preventive and maintenance measures but fall short if major procedures become necessary.
For those with no insurance, dental health is usually not an option for average income families, with the exception of good in home dental care practices.
- My first money saving tip is:
It will be well worth the effort to stress proper dental care practices at home. This may be a good preventative, especially with children. Regular brushing and flossing can go a long way in preventing the necessity of dental procedures.
- Dental Clinics
Check with your local human services department or social services to see if your area provides a dental clinic. Dental Clinics are usually offered for children under 18 years of age and can save you money. They are income based, and could be free or cost just a few dollars for checkups and necessary procedures.
- Schools and Universities
Be sure to check out any local Dental Schools or Universities with dental programs that offer dental care. Usually these programs costs are 30% to 50% less than the traditional dental office and care is just as professional. Many will offer payment plans as well.
- Check Discount Dental Plans
If your budget allows, you could join a discount dental plan that shares the cost of care. There are many different plans and each offers different benefits. The terminology and variety can be very confusing.
I recommend you arm yourself with as much information as possible about each dental plan you might consider before making a decision. Make an informed decision based on what your family's needs are.
Find out what dental plans are available in your area.
Money Saving Tips for Medicine and Prescriptions
- Ask for Samples
Here is what I believe to be the most overlooked money saving tip for medicines and prescriptions. Don't pay if you can get it for free! Always ask your doctor for samples. If they know you have no insurance, you may be able to get the full amount needed for prescriptions in samples. This is especially true if the doctor knows it is an extremely expensive medication that will be cost prohibitive for you.
Doctors often have a substantial supply of over the counter medications as well (i.e. Tylenol, Motrin, Nasal Sprays, Cold medication, etc.). Many times all you need to do is speak up and ask.
Here are some money saving tips if you have to fill a prescription.
- Maintenance Prescriptions Save Money
If you are required to take a medication for an extended or undetermined time period, or lifetime, you will qualify for maintenance prescriptions for most medications. There are a few that do not qualify usually because they are highly regulated or require regular blood testing to regulate dosage (meaning that the dosage required may fluctuate as with blood thinners)
You will receive a prescription from your doctor for a three month period. However, with most insurance companies, you will only have to pay the co-pay for a two month period. This can save between $15 and $30 up to four times a year depending on the medication and co-pay amount. That's substantial savings, especially if it's a lifetime medication.
- Mail Order Money Saving Tip
If you have insurance coverage for prescription medications you may have a mail order option for prescriptions that could save you money. It may be worth your while to check into these types of services. Many medications may cost less than you are currently paying for your co-pay at the pharmacy under mail order options.
- Check Pricing
If the mail order option is not available, at the very least save money by checking prices at different pharmacies. I heard recently that many pharmacies are making quite a profit from generic medications. Be sure to inquire about lower cost options at your pharmacy.
I've been told, although I haven't checked it out, that the warehouse club "Costco" has the absolute best prices on generic medications (by comparison, substantially lower costs on several medications as compared to retail pharmacies) and you don't have to be a member to purchase from the pharmacy department. If you don't have a Costco near you, you might want to check local membership clubs like Sam's Club or Price Club to see what their policies and prices are. You may be pleasantly surprised.
- Ask for Help
If you do not have insurance coverage you could still get help. Patient Assistance Programs are available from most major pharmaceutical companies. The programs offer free (or in some cases very low cost) prescription medications to individuals who are under-insured or have no insurance coverage.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance brings together America's pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to help qualifying individuals get the medicines they need through the public or private programs that are right for them. You can search for covered medicines and eligibility in a central location making it easier and more convenient to apply. Click here to find out more.
- Money Saving tips for Medicare Recipients
If you are a Medicare recipient be sure to research the new prescription drug coverage. All Medicare recipients, regardless of income, have access to prescription drug coverage beginning January 1, 2006. This site addresses and answers a lot of questions including basic information, common situations, and things you should consider.
Being more informed about these things can help you make informed decisions about your prescriptions coverage and plans. Medicare has a new feature My.Medicare.gov where you will have access to personalized information regarding your Medicare benefits and services. Be sure to check this out.
Alternative and Natural Health
A lot of folks are turning to alternative and natural health maintenance and remedies. They could prove to save substantial amounts of money through natural prevention and cures. NaturalHealthNewsletters.com provides one of the most complete collections of free newsletters for natural health and alternative medicine on the internet.
You can receive free articles, book reviews, recipes and more on topics ranging from Nutrition, Fitness to Herbal Remedies and Holistic Medicine. An ideal place to go to learn more about alternative and natural health and how to improve your health.
Some people swear that nutritional supplements help keep them healthy and out of the doctor's office. There is much research to support some truth in their beliefs.
For some time now, experts have agreed that Soy is a wonderfully healthy and nutritious food source reaping many health benefits. Among the many health benefits attributed to soy are it's aid in weight loss, heart health, and reducing menopause symptoms. Try. Use their 30 day risk-free trial to try soy products.
Besides using supplements and other natural health care remedies, taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, is important for both men and women. Maintaining good health habits can be a great start to preventing health problems in the future. Of course, you probably already know that. The knowing is not usually the problem in this area, it's the doing!
Good all around preventative health measures could include managing weight, reducing or eliminating stress, and keeping a good attitude about life.
HealthyLivingForMoms.com is great site where Moms, inparticular, can find helpful information to help you design a blueprint for healthy living that's tailored specifically for you. Written by a Mom for Mom's, I think you'll find it informative and useful.
Dealing with Health Care Debt
So many families find themselves with serious debt due to unexpected medical expenses. Especially for those with no insurance coverage, one serious health issue could leave you in debt for life.
If your have other unsecured debt the first step is to get help to lower payments on those debts. A lot of folks just let it go and have to endure the stress of constant badgering from debt collectors. It's such a shame since most times all that is required is a simple phone call to discuss your situation with the creditor. Most hospitals, doctors, and testing facilities are aware that these situations can put a great financial burden on families. They will work with you if you just take the time to ask.
I remember when I lost my job of 10 years due to the business closing. I rarely got sick the entire time I was enrolled in the group insurance plan. Wouldn't you know, about a month later I was hit with Lyme disease. A very serious desease that required medical treatment.
When I did not get well after an emergency room visit, I was lucky enough to find a doctor who would see me right away. She not only properly diagnosed the disease but graciously gave me the entire amount of medication to complete the treatment. It is a very expensive medication and, as luck would have it, she had enough samples on hand to help me out.
Later, I was hit with the hospital bill. I called and arranged to pay a modest $15 per month. It took quite some time to pay the balance. If I recall correctly, it was approximately 4 years before the hospital and it's physicians were paid in full.
A few years later, my husband accumulated a rather large bill at a hospital for a procedure that was not covered by the insurance company. Of course, I went through all the procedures to appeal the decision, but in the end, we had to pay. It was not long after that I discovered the hospital had a program that considered waiving hospital fees on a case by case basis.
It was a lot of paperwork on my part and took some time. But, I was overwhelmed with relief when I found out we qualified. A hospital debt of over 5,000 dollars was completely waived.
Not every hospital offers such a program. But it couldn't hurt to ask if you're having trouble with these kinds of debt. You'll never know what help is available if you don't go looking for it. Most times, it won't be offered as an option, unless you inquire.
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