Healthcare today is a very tough road to travel. Health insurance premiums are through the roof while the deductibles are sky high. Prescription medications cost hundreds of dollars for name brands and some generics have questionable components and efficacy as they are made across the globe. People who truly need the insurance cannot afford it at $2,200/ month for one with pre-existing, and what it ultimately looks like down the road, is a single payer system and the rest will be returning to cash pay. As for now, there are a few good alternatives coming to the front for those who are somewhat healthy and need the emergency things covered.
Healthshare programs are religious-based community cost sharing groups. You pay in your monthly share amount and then when you need your annual physical, the group shares the cost and covers it 100%. The option we chose was a $1,000 deductible. You do not have to pay the tax penalty for no health insurance through the religious exemption. The programs typically do a monthly newsletter. They post statements about to whom the monthly shared amount went and you can offer them words of encouragement. Healthshare programs have you pay in for high-risk behaviors (smoking, obesity) to a healthcoach who calls you routinely to help you improve your lifestyle and once you graduate, the extra fee is gone. Costs here are $199 for one person and $299 for a couple, and $399 for family with kids. These rates stay the same annually. I do not know if they offer this rate per couple for unmarried folks. The one we use is Liberty HealthShare.
My friend has found an online doctor/nurse practitioner program for women. They offer birth control refills, prescription medications, and health checks online for $25 for women. Mavenclinic.com/welcome and use her code TEDDYVIP for a free session. This is what I will be using until the new year as my deductible had not been met this year. What a great option for when you cannot afford a babysitter in order to go the doctor either. A cash pay rate at any doctors is between $80 at the walk-in Kroger clinics, to $150 for a doctor exam. So for now I see this online program as a great alternative.
With no prescription coverage, you can use the websites or programs that offer generic medication price reductions and will cross check the costs by all the pharmacies in your area. I use goodrx.com in order to price check the medications that are needed and find the best price in my area. It is a free program. If you are needing name brand prescriptions, please check online with the drug company themselves, as they routinely offer coupons online for their product. The doctors offices hopefully will have coupons to give you as well to help offset the costs.
I recommend using walk-in clinics when you have no health insurance, but price check the Grocery store walk-in medical clinic versus the hospital network walk-in clinic to be sure you get the best price. Do this before you get sick. They tend to manage the emergency bronchitis, strep throat, sinusitis, flu, and cough fairly well. Be cautious, because you may be given more medication that you need. My husband tore a muscle in his back and was given 3 different pain meds and Naproxen sodium. Had we not looked up all the medications, he may have over dosed between the muscle relaxer and the narcotic that he was given. Be mindful that you will frequently be given a full arsenal to attack when perhaps all that is needed is an inhaler. Be smart in managing your own health.
I highly recommend becoming familiar with early virus control through herbal remedies, elderberry syrups, local honeys, clean home and diet. Homemade chicken broth works wonders as well as bone broth for helping to manage the change of the seasons. SLow cooked veggies in the broths help to fill bellies. Avoid dairy and minimize sugar during these transitions as well to help reduce the sticky wet that collects viruses and bacteria in the digestive system and airways. Keeping the air in the home clear of particulate is also very helpful with having a clean vacuum to use and wet mop the floors instead of sweeping the dust into the air. Keep a clean pillow and sheets. Using a good quality essential oil in the humidifier or air purifier can be a tremendous benefit also. Eucaluptus, lime, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme are all effective at breaking up congestion.
Before you have to jump into antibiotics from a secondary bacterial infection after a virus, try a few things as prevention early on. Use saline drops or spray to rinse the sinuses before you sleep. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, aspirin, or Naproxen sodium to prevent the swelling that traps the mucous that grows the bacteria. Use this around the clock for a few days to prevent acute stage while also drinking warm herbal teas. Hydrate and rest. Adding some local honey and fresh squeezed lemon is helpful also. Go to bed early after you have a nice bath to loosen up any congestion. Stay away from news media. Keep your mind and spirit calm and peaceful to support the body healing itself.
This is my small survival guide for now. Don’t forget the importance of stress management and learning emotional fluency. Identify feelings, acknowledge, sit with them, and breath-life in, stress out.
Good luck and feel free to offer updates and suggestions as you find them!