Even in an ailing economy, the one budget item you shouldn’t stop nursing is your health.
How to save on your health in an ailing economy
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Whatever the reason, the numbers show more people are postponing care amid the deepening recession.
The most common actions reported were relying on home remedies and over-the-counter drugs rather than visiting a doctor.
Your own prognosis – financial and medical – can be improved by knowing how to navigate the system. Here are a few tips.
Save on co-pays – To cut down on repeated office visits and co-pays, don’t walk into a doctor’s office unprepared. Go armed with any past medical records your doctor might want to see. Jot down how you’ve been feeling recently, too. Follow up on test results over the phone.
Tap flexible spending accounts – Consider starting a flexible spending account for health care costs during the next open enrollment period. This lets workers set aside pretax dollars to pay for certain qualified medical expenses, such as co-pays, deductibles and even over-the-counter drugs.
Ask about financial help – Hospitals and clinics usually have formal financial assistance programs. But doctors at small practices might be willing to work with patients one-on-one.
Those with chronic, debilitating diseases can tap the Patient Advocate Foundation, which offers help negotiating with insurers.
Consider store-based clinics – If you don’t have insurance, consider a clinic based in retailers such as Wal-Mart or Target. Clinics are staffed mostly by nurse practitioners and treat routine conditions such as colds, bladder infections, sunburn.