Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fixing the hole(s) where the rain gets in

A lot of people have been asking/commenting on the fact that I've been notably absent lately from the online community. I've also been more absent than usual in the 3D community. One reason is that I've been dealing with some medical issues in the past few months. (I'm fine. I'm okay. Or, I'll be fine, I'll be okay.)

I thought I'd take a minute to share some information that might be helpful to some of you.

I'm poor and uninsured. There. I've said it. That being the case, these past few months have been especially stressful for me because of doctor bills, lab tests, prescriptions, etc. But even though I've spent hundreds of dollars that I technically don't have, I've also saved hundreds. How?


So many people are uninsured (or grossly under insured) and those in the medical profession understand this. There's no shame in needing medical help and not being able to afford it. Let me say it another way. You deserve to be healthy regardless of your financial situation. Obamacare not withstanding.

There are four things I do regularly that save me HUNDREDS of dollars every month.

1) Ask your doctor if they offer reduced rates for services.  If you don't ask, you'll never know. Some doctors and other professionals have a sliding fee scale. Some will offer you the rate at which they are reimbursed by insurance companies - which is seldom the number you see on your bill.  I did this and had one person reduce their rate from $100 to $60.  All I had to do was ask.

2) If you're going in for a follow up visit to have something re-checked, ask if it's possible to have the nurse run the test or do the check up. I had to go back to one doctor for a follow up test. The cost for the office visit was $125.  I asked if I could just see the nurse and have her run the simple test.  Cost?  $8.

3)  Before getting a prescription filled, call every pharmacy in your area and get their price. Generics are always better if your doctor agrees.  Then, if it's not convenient to drive all around town, go to your nearest pharmacy and ask them to match the lowest price you can find.  It's been my experience that they always will.  After all, they would rather have some of your money than none of it.  I've paid $11 for a $34 prescription. You just have to ask.

4)  For expensive, ongoing prescriptions, there are almost always patient assistance programs.  Ask your doctor, or go online to find out about them.  Just do a Google search for the brand name.  You can download the forms.  You'll fill out a page or two, include your most recent tax return and give the whole thing to your doctor who will fill out the rest and send it in for you.  If you qualify, your meds will be shipped directly to your doctor in three month supplies.  You'll have to re-apply every six months, but for someone like me, it's more than worth it.  I take over $1000 in medication every month - and it's all free. Directly from the drug company that makes the product.

Take care of yourself. Easy to say, believe me, I know. But it IS possible if you're willing to ask for help.

Anyone else have any tips on how to save money on healthcare if your uninsured?

1 comment:

  1. I chanced upon your blog from Jai's link. I think you are one brilliant lady... and its inspiring to hear how you live your life with courage.

    Keep at it. Stay strong. You give me hope.