Healthcare costs are getting higher and higher every year. A routine surgery can put someone into bankruptcy. However, there are ways to find affordable healthcare. Here are some ideas that work right now for many people:
If you need to be seen by a doctor but have no insurance, let the provider know. Many major hospital networks have programs for those who are both uninsured and short on cash.
These plans tend to work on a sliding scale and you pay a percentage of the total cost based on your income. These services will not cover everything, but they do usually cover medically necessary treatments and procedures. Medications, however, usually do not count and you will need to do some additional work to make prescription medications affordable.
Similar to a sliding scale, if providers know you are paying in cash and do not have insurance, they may give you the discounted rate similar to what an insurance company negotiates. Make sure you ask about this before you are seen or else they may not agree to it. The crazy thing is, sometimes this rate is cheaper than a co-pay if you actually had insurance. Crazy, I know.
There are many options for those who cannot afford to pay in full for prescriptions. Even if you have insurance, not all medications are budget-friendly. Research all of your local pharmacies. Walgreens, for example, has a prescription savings plan that is $20 per year for an individual and $35 per year for a family. This plan helps to save money on a large majority of prescription medications.
You can also look at local pharmacies for specialty offers. For example, some pharmacies, like the Giant Eagle pharmacy in Ohio, offers free antibiotics during the winter months. Not all antibiotics are included, but the majority of the most commonly prescribed ones are.
If you are taking certain name-brand drugs, check the pharmaceutical company's website for coupons. Many times you can get free prescriptions with these coupons. It's worth taking a look!
These clinics may not be the first thing you want to do, but for basic medical care they are a good option. Services are free to low-cost and anyone can come in and be seen. For example, if you think you have strep throat, you can come in and be seen by a doctor for nothing or just a few bucks. If you were to head to the local emergency room, the visit would easily cost you thousands of dollars.
Call the County
Many counties throughout the country have sliding scale services for medical help. These work based on your income to determine what you need to pay for medical services. You can also find out about things like free preventative screenings. Most major cities throughout the United States offer free preventative services at least once a year. Things like a basic physical, mammograms and blood pressure readings can be gotten at no cost to you regardless of whether you have insurance or not.
Each solution will not work for everyone, but all of your options should be explored to ensure that you find the most affordable option for you. With the changes coming in the year 2014, this is almost certain to be a hot topic.