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  • Tips to Reduce Medical Expenses

    Until health care reform is finalized in 2014, the 46 million currently uninsured Americans will have to find ways to pay for medical care.  If you don’t have coverage and cannot afford insurance, below are some tips to find lower cost medical care:

    DON’T WAIT UNTIL THERE IS AN EMERGENCY TO FIND A DOCTOR

    Maintaining a  relationship with a primary care doctor going for routine visits is the best way to stay healthy and avoiding the need for emergency care.  There are low cost or free clinics, check with your community or city health care system for more information, or look online at http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.  If you lost insurance coverage, tell your physician about the change in your status and perhaps discounts can be negotiated for cash payment.

    EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS

    Please use the ER only for true life threatening emergencies.  For routine medical care, please go to a physician’s office or urgent care center.  Emergency rooms are higher in cost for routine care.  If you must visit the ER, please contact the billing department of the hospital as soon as possible after the visit to ask them to renegotiate the billing for cash payment, or to set up a payment plan.

    CHILDREN ONLY HEALTH COVERAGE

    The federal government and some states, including California, offer coverage for children when their parents cannot afford private coverage.    There are income qualifications that have to be met.  For more information go to: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/.

    PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

    Your physician may be able to provide you with samples of prescribed medications.  Community medical clinics may also have low cost medicines. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drugmakers’ trade group, provides free and low-cost drugs through its Partnership for Prescription Assistance http://www.pparx.org/. Individual drugmakers often have their own programs that offer free or reduced-cost drugs as well.

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