Health care can be overwhelming — finding quality care, fitting appointments into your schedule, coping with new health issues, and finding the money to pay for it all. Fortunately, there are many free and low-cost health care resources out there that can take the edge off, especially for kids, seniors and low-income families. Plus, some general tips that can help anyone save, no matter your age or income
In honor of World Health Day (April 7), we’ve pulled together 13 ways you can reduce the cost, and stress, of medical care.
Visit this site to see if your child or teen may qualify for free or low-cost health insurance coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
2. Community health centers
If you don’t qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, you may be able to get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center. They offer services like prenatal care, baby shots, general primary care or referrals to specialized care. Find a community health center near you.
3. InfantSEE (managed by the American Optometric Association)
This program provides a no-cost eye assessment for infants within first year of life, regardless of income or insurance coverage.
4. Lions Club
Check with the local Lions Club chapter to find out about vision screenings offered at schools, workplaces, community health fairs and more.
5. EyeCare America (part of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology)
This organization gives qualifying seniors free eye exams. See if you qualify for an eye exam and up to one year of care for a disease diagnosed at that appointment.
6. Optometry schools
Typically optometry schools operate full-service clinics so students have a chance to work with real patients in a supervised environment. The benefit to you is a major discount on everything from a basic eye exam to treatment of more serious eye issues.
7. Dental schools
Get your teeth sparkling at a great price. A cleaning by a student can cost as little as $50. If you’re nervous to have a student work on your teeth, see if they offer faculty cleanings. It will cost a bit more but is typically still a substantial savings.
8. Education & awareness classes
Many hospital offer free sessions to bring awareness and educate the community about conditions like asthma or diabetes. This is not just for the people dealing with the condition or disease; it’s for the people who love them to learn about the diagnosis.
9. Support groups
Hospitals are a great place to find free support groups whether you’re adjusting to parenthood, dealing with grief or coping with a new disease. You may also find support groups at local community or senior centers.
10. Free screenings
Most diseases, conditions and health issues have a month or week dedicated to awareness. Some of the better known are Breast Cancer Awareness in October and American Heart Month in February. During these times, look for free screenings. For example, in October, women with no health insurance or limited coverage may be able to get free clinical breast exams or mammograms at their local YWCA.
11. Clinical Trials
The United States National Institutes of Health offers a database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies. Always check with your doctor to make sure you would be a good candidate to apply.
12. Know your insurance benefits
You may be surprised by what your insurance covers. See if things like chiropractic care and weight loss coaching are included with your plan.
13. Shop at warehouse clubs
In most states you don’t need to be a member of a warehouse club to buy prescriptions from their pharmacy. Often the savings are substantial. Even the cost of generics can be significantly lower at a warehouse club than other pharmacies.