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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How To Survive Without Health Insurance

If you're one of the 50 million Americans that don't have health insurance, then here are a few tips on how you can surivive until affordable health care is available to everyone . If you don't have a prescription plan, then visit www.AdamsDiscountPharmacy.Com or call them at 215-572-1118. Adams is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia and their Rx prices are sometimes cheaper than Canada, some health insurance plans and many government agencies like the Veterans Administration. Another alternative is www.QualityGenerics.Com. They ship drugs directly from India. And many Canadian pharmacies import their drugs from India before shipping to the US. However, one Canadian pharmacy that has good prices is www.Aptecha.com However, keep in mind that buying drugs from outside the US is illegal but is rarely prosecuted. Consumer Reports has a free website that can help you comparison shop for drugs at www.crbestbuydrugs.com. Another good site to comparison shop for drugs is PharmacyChecker.Com. When buying over the counter drugs, always try to buy "store brands"since they're usually about one half the cost of the name brand version and there's hardly any difference between the two. When getting a prescription, always ask your doctor for free samples . If your doc doesn't have any free samples, always request a generic version of the drug. If a generic version of the drug is not available, then ask your pharmacist to suggest alternatives to your doctor that may be available. Also, most tablets and pills ( except for capsules, time- release or long-acting)) can be split to save you big money. For instance, if your Rx is for 10 milligram pills, ask for 20 milligram pills. They're the same price as the 10 mg pills but can be split in half. If the Rx calls for 30 10mg, get 15 20mg pills for less money. Make it a habit of going to health fairs to get free screenings. In addition, many local health departments offer blood pressure and other routine exams for free. If you have a medical or a dental school near your home town, inquire whether they have a low cost public clinic available. For simple ailments, you can try www.TelaDoc.Com at 800-835-2362. Phone consultations with a doctor cost $35 plus a registration fee. TelaDoc can also call in an Rx to your pharmacy. Another low cost alternative might be to see a nurse practioner. They tend to spend more time with patients, charge less than doctors, and do a good job of diagnosing problems. Visit www.TheLittleClinic.Com, www.MinuteClinic.Com and www.RediClinic.Com to see if there are NP clinics in your state. ' Free health care can also be available for particular ailments when you participate in a clinical trial. You can go to www.ClinicalTrials.Gov to see what trials are available in your area. Keep in mind that clinical trials may be dangerous if you have a serious illness and you are placed in the group that is given a placebo in place of a real drug. Always ask if everyone in the trial will be given the same drug before signing up . If you need a major operation but can't afford it, you can try Thailand, India or Costa Rica. Many foreign hospitals have US trained physicians and deliver better and safer care in a resort type atmosphere. For instance , a triple by-pass operation in the US is $100,000. In Thailand,it's $12,000. The top hospitals in Thailand are www.Bumrungrad.Com and www.Samitivej.co.th. In India its www.ApolloHospitals.Com and www.WockhardtHospitals.Net In Singapore, try www.Imrc.Com.sg. In Costa Rica it's www.HealthCostaRica.Com. In Mexico, its www.Mediks.Com. In Belgium try www.HipClinic.Com If you've already had a major opertaion at a US hospital, and can't pay for the operation,perhaps you can negotiate the price down. Keep in mind that Medicare and HMO's only pay about one seventh of what an uninsured patient would be charged. So if an operation costs $35,000, offer the hospital $5,000. If they say yes, make sure they send you a letter that they accept your offer as payment in full so they can't turn you in for collection later on. If they refuse your offer, you might want to hire an attorney on a contingency basis that specializes in suing hospitals for unfair billing practices. See www. nfplitigation.com for more info. If you have health insurance that has a large dedeuctable or large co-insurance payouts,make sure you check your hospital bill with a fine tooth comb. Because 50% of all hospital bills contain big errors. If you don't understand items listed on your bill, then go to the hospital's accounting office and ask a hospital accounting clerk to explain each item. If you prefer to hire a company to verify everything on the bill, contact the Alliance Of Claims Assistance Professionals at 630-562-1000 or www.Claims.Org. They specialize in finding hospital bill errors and charge $30 per hour on up. Some charge a percentage of mistakes they find. The ACAP can also help you if your insurance company refuses to pay for care that is covered by your policy. Another company that provides these services is www.HeathCareAdvocates.Com at 215-735-7711. If you don't have eye care insurance, www.EyeCareAmerica.Org has a program open to people under 65 for a free eye exam and eye care for up to one year. Call 800-222-3937 for more info.

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