Safeway Store Located in Gridley, CA offers Low-Cost Mammograms

January 31, 2011

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer takes the lives of 40,000 women each year, and will develop in one in every eight women. These statistics highlight the importance of detecting breast cancer in its early stages. This upcoming Monday, February 7, the Safeway Store located in Gridley, California, will be offering low-cost mammograms via St. Joseph’s Medical Center. Usually costing over $100 for uninsured patients, mammograms here will cost $80, and in some cases, nothing. The event is for women of all ages, and runs from 9 am – 3 pm. Call 1 (866) 430-8222 to schedule your appointment or to ask any questions. Be sure to schedule as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.

For full details of the event, click HERE.


SheKnows.com Hosts a Giveaway of The Healthcare Survival Guide

January 28, 2011

From providing tips on health or parenting, to covering the latest beauty trends or entertainment news, SheKnows.com serves as a forum for women to connect and discuss a wide range of interests. They also have a message board where readers are encouraged have discussions with each other, as well as the writers for the website, many of whom are experts and published authors. The website frequently hosts contests and giveaways, providing readers with a chance to win useful prizes, such as workout equipment, strollers, or informative books.

The newest giveaway is The Healthcare Survival Guide: Cost-Saving Options for the Suddenly Unemployed and Anyone Else Who Wants to Save Money, the book that brings you this blog. If you find this blog helpful in lowering your medical costs, saving money in general and staying healthy, The Healthcare Survival Guide is a more in-depth version. In other posts, we have discussed ways to save money at the doctor and how to stay on top of your bills, amongst many other things. For a more in-depth look at how to make healthcare affordable, enter here. It’s FREE, you may enter as many times as you would like, and they are giving away three copies! You may enter until February 27.

Good luck!


Keeping Healthy & Safe this Winter

January 26, 2011

If you live in the northeastern part of the U.S., then you’re used to cold, blustery winters. But no matter how accustomed you may have become, there’s no denying that this winter has been particularly brutal. Precipitation has been heavy and frequent (some areas can expect even more snow tonight), while temperatures have dipped well below zero in some areas, prompting schools across at least four states to close on Monday. Being experienced northeasterners, you have a good idea of how to deal with these conditions. However, you could be at risk for more things than you’ve considered. And it doesn’t hurt to cover all of the bases, so here is a brief list of strategies to counteract the perils of winter.

1. Basics – Keep warm. If you have to go outside, dress in many layers of light clothing rather than a few layers of heavy clothing. Your body will heat the air that is trapped in between each layer of clothing. This will help you to retain warmth. Stay clean by washing your hands often and keep sanitizers handy. And although you may be tempted to indulge with comfort foods, it’s still possible to have warm, hearty meals without compromising a healthy diet. Don’t forget to exercise. Although these four things are obvious, they are still very important in building and/or maintaining a strong immune system.

2. Shoveling Did you know shoveling can be dangerous to your health? In this month’s American Journal of Emergency Medicine is a study revealing that over 11,000 people are hospitalized each year for accidents related to shoveling. These injuries occurred due to a variety of reasons, including excessive weight lifting and the slippery conditions. To help, you can use a lighter shovel to limit heavy lifting, wear snow boots to avoid falls, and stretch beforehand. It is also important to note that it may not be a good idea to shovel if you have heart problems.

3. Take Care of Your Eyes – Lesley Alderman of the New York Times reports that snow reflects about 80% of sun’s rays, making sunglasses just as necessary during winter as they are during the summer. Make sure that they are protective against ultraviolet rays, as overexposure to such can lead to cancer, cataracts or blindness.

If you have any additional advice on how to keep healthy and safe during the winter, feel free to comment below!


Find low-cost or free dental services nationwide

January 21, 2011

In today’s economic climate, most people find it hard enough to afford keeping up with their basic medical care, let alone dental care.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Besides the obvious cosmetic benefits of taking care of your teeth, the American Heart Association says that keeping good dental hygiene could reduce your risk of heart disease.

Fortunately, the folks at WorlDental.org have put together an expansive database of free and low-cost dental services throughout the United States. The site features loads of information on clinics, fairs, and other places to get cheap dental care in Minnesota, Northern California, and Indiana; North Carolina, Michigan, and Maryland; Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hamphire; as well as New Jersey and virtually anywhere else in America.  The site is updated continuously, so if you don’t see a clinic or event in your area, check back soon.

Are you having trouble paying for dental care? Would WorlDental be helpful to you? Leave us a comment!


Use of medical services likely to fall in early 2011

January 19, 2011

Over the last few years, expensive insurance premiums and rising unemployment have made Americans reluctant to spend money on costly non-essential procedures and medications. This reluctance often has led to patients skipping out on appointments and cutting back on medications.

Despite this trend, Debra Sherman of Reuters reports that there actually was an increase in spending on medical services during the fourth quarter of 2010. This brief lapse in financial conservatism could have happened for a number of reasons, including increased confidence in the economy. However, it’s more likely that people were attempting to make as many doctor visits as possible after meeting their annual deductibles. With these deductibles having been reset on January 1, it is expected that people will go back to skipping doctor visits.

It’s important to know that saving money does not have to cost you and your family sound health. There are other ways of cutting costs where you can maintain good health without breaking the bank. All you need to do is strategize:

  • Be proactive. Don’t default to any single doctor. Planning ahead and shopping around will provide you with many options. A lack of options may subject you to expensive services – more options means more prices to compare. Search your area for medical services and be open to different providers – community hospitals typically offer the same services as academic medical centers, but at a cheaper price.
  • Like we discussed last week, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about a discount. It never hurts to ask.
  • Keep a journal to keep track of all of the services you have received. When you receive your bill, match up records to make sure there are no errors.
  • Make sure to stay on top of your medical bills – this means being clear on what your insurer will and will not cover, addressing billing errors immediately, and writing everything down – if there is a dispute, it will support your argument to know who at your insurance company you spoke with and what it is you discussed.

Have you avoided care to save money? Tell us your story in the comments!


The Dangers of Inactivity

January 14, 2011

The health dangers associated with prolonged periods of inactivity have long been known to the medical community and the general public. Parking yourself in front of the television and avoiding exercise, the common wisdom goes, can lead to weight gain and deteriorated health.

However, a new study from the University of Queensland, Australia, brings to light more details regarding the dangers of sitting. According to the study, prolonged periods of sitting — even among those who exercise regularly — lead to a bigger waistline and increased levels of blood fats.

This data comes on the heels of a University College London study  that found that the risk of heart disease doubled among those who spent more than four hours a day on the computer. Furthermore, the risk of a cardiovascular event increased 125 percent for people who spent at least two hours in front of a television or computer screen after work.

What’s shocking about these findings is that regular exercise alone isn’t enough to combat several hours’ worth of sitting — something millions of Americans do everyday at their desk jobs. Genevieve Healy, the lead author of the Queensland study, suggests that regular exercise mixed with frequent breaks during the workday to stand or walk around is the most effective way to offset the negative effects of sitting.

For many of us, spending over four hours a day in front of a computer is unavoidable. Based on these findings, what do you plan to do to offset the negative effects of sitting? Let us know in the comments!


Looking for ways to cut your medical costs? Start by talking to your doctor

January 12, 2011

As out-of-pocket costs continue to rise, paying for care can seem overwhelming. It may be easy to overlook the simplest – and most direct – means of accomplishing this difficult task: negotiating with your doctor. Although this may sound daunting, doctors are aware that out-of-pocket costs are rising and that many people are uninsured, and fully expect questions about costs. In fact, according to one survey, a surprising 61 percent of patients who asked their providers for a discount received one, so don’t be afraid to ask!

To help you prepare for this conversation, The New York Times had Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren of the University of Pennsylvania to answer commonly asked questions about negotiating with your healthcare provider. The Q + A covers a number of issues, such as when to bring the topic of cost reduction up or what homework you should do prior to the appointment. There are many things that you can research, such as the average price of a service, which will give you some leverage in negotiating with providers.

One of the main points to be taken from this Q + A is that doing your own research can go a long way in saving you money. Dr. Kullgren refers to healthcarebluebook.com to help you find average costs of particular services, which you will be able to use as a tool in negotiating a reasonable price with your provider. It is also important to be aware of other opportunities, such as free/low-cost health facilities, which could be a federally-funded center or provided by a university. We post these resources as we find them, but for now, two entries, here and here can help you get started in your efforts to save money.

Here, Stephen Meyers, M.D. offers additional insight on how to approach negotiating costs with your medical providers.