Alternative Healthcare Resources that Can Help You Save
By Shannon M. Medisky
When it comes to your health and keeping savings in your wallet, don’t limit yourself to only traditional sources. Broadening your horizons a bit and thinking outside of the box can reveal a wide variety of alternative healthcare resources that can help you stay physically fit and your budget fiscally sound.
Courtesy of Uncle Sam
Locate a federally-funded health center. No health coverage and no cash to pay? No problem, you can still be seen to ensure your good health. Health centers are located in most cities and in many rural areas, so chances are very good that you’re near one. Such centers provide free and low-cost healthcare to everyone who needs it. To locate the center closest to you, visit the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) website.
Courtesy of Your Local Pharmacy
Your doctor isn’t the only person who can answer questions regarding your prescriptions, supplements and OTC medications. Your local pharmacist is a phenomenal healthcare resource that is often woefully underutilized. And, they’re usually available past the five o’clock hour, on weekends and you can even call or stop by to talk to them for completely free. The good news for you and your wallet doesn’t stop there, either. Free blood pressure checks courtesy of automated machines and low-cost vaccinations are both available at your local pharmacy. So make friends with your pharmacist and start taking advantage of all the free and low-cost healthcare resources available at your local drugstore today.
Another great way your pharmacist can directly impact your bottom line is by providing financial and medication guidance. While your physician is ultimately the one who will make the decision about the appropriateness and necessity of certain medications, your pharmacist likely knows more about the various options out there, including how much they cost. After all, pharmacists fill hundreds of prescriptions each day and notice their associated expense. If your medications are putting a financial squeeze on your budget, be sure to mention it to your pharmacist. He or she may have a suggestion that might very well prove to be the solution to both your medical need and your financial bind.
Your Local Fire Station
Your local fire station is another great resource for free healthcare help. A quick stop by your local station – no appointment and no payment necessary – and you can get your blood pressure and blood sugar checked by a medical professional. (This can be a great resource if you find the automated blood pressure machines at your local pharmacy to be unreliable.)
24/7 Nurse Advice Lines
Save yourself some money not to mention needless suffering by taking advantage of a nurse advice line. Many hospitals, communities and even insurance companies provide toll-free nurse advice lines 24/7. So the next time you’re ill or wondering if you should visit your doctor, consider saving the doctor visit copay and instead pick up the phone. To quickly and easily find out if such a service is available, call your insurance provider or a local hospital.
One final note: Whether you have health insurance coverage or you don’t, whether you can afford your copay or not, many hospital emergency rooms will see you and provide appropriate medical care regardless of your ability to pay.
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