Free & Low-Cost Health & Wellness Events – August

August 3, 2011

As a part of our ongoing effort to help you optimize your health without breaking the bank, we’ve researched and compiled a list of free and low-cost health resources for the month of August, including health clinics and wellness events.

Take a look at the list below to see if there are any events near you, and be sure to check back regularly – we update the list as we find additional resources. If you yourself know of any events that aren’t on our list, feel free to let everyone know in the comments section below!

*Denotes recurring event.

Scottsdale, AZ – Anterior hip replacement screening (Free, 8/23); Bone Density Screening ($20, 8/23, 1-4pm); Heart Health Evaluation ($20, 8/24, 9am–Noon); Cholesterol & Bone Density Screening ($35, 8/30, 8-11:30am); Children’s Immunizations (Free, 8/6, 8am-Noon).

Free Support Groups: Pregnancy & Postpartum Depression (times/dates vary by subject & location)

Hanford, CANOTE: Cost is undisclosed unless otherwise noted. Most services require appointment. Immunizations* (times/dates vary by location); Reproductive Health Services* (times/dates vary by location); STD Clinic (M-F, 8-5); Preventive Care – Screenings and Referrals (Free); Women, Infant and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program (times/dates vary by location); TB Clinic & HIV Testing (times/dates vary by location); Diabetes Information (Free)

Riverside, CA – Meditation Group* (Free, Thursdays, 7:30-9pm); Senior and Caregiver Expo (Free w/free transportation to the event, 8/20, 7:30-11:30am. Requires RSVP by 8/5).

Miami, FL – Cholesterol & Diabetes Screening (Free, times/dates vary by location); “For Your Health” online chats (Free, times/dates vary by subject)

Detroit, MI – Prostate Health (Free, 8/3, Noon-1pm, RSVP); Medication Management (Cost unspecified; 8/4, 10:30-11:30am); Health & Wellness Expo for Seniors & Caregivers (Free if you RSVP, $3 at the door, 8/5, Noon-7pm); Senior Summerfest & Health Screenings (Includes seminars – injury & cancer prevention and joint replacements, screenings, blood tests, blood pressure check, vision, hearing and foot checks. Free, 8/7, 1-4pm. RSVP is required); Advancements in Hip Replacement/Surgery (Free, 8/10, 6pm)

Support Groups: Mental Illness (Cost unspecified, 8/9, 7-9pm); Prostate Cancer (Free, 8/9, 7-9pm)

Queens, NYAll events are free. Yoga 50+* (Registration required, Tuesdays, 10:30 am & 11:45 am); Blood Pressure Screening (8/10, 9-10am & 8/17, 9-10:30am); Caregiver Support (8/11, 11am)

Again, we’ll be updating this list as we find more events, so check back often! To stay up-to-date on health news, wellness tips, and cost-saving healthcare advice, you can follow us @HealthSurvival and ”like” our Facebook page here.

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Health Advocate, Inc. to Host Free Health Reform Seminar

April 26, 2011

Health Advocate, Inc. is pleased to announce a FREE Health Reform Seminar called Outlook for Health Reform 2011-2014! Executives from Independence Blue Cross, NaviNet, and Health Advocate will explain all of the key components of the law to help employers, businesses and other organizations succeed in the new environment.

 Attendees will also learn:

The nuts & bolts of Health Reform

How reform will affect your organization

What you need to do to prepare

How to help your employees prepare

Much more

Details:

The event will be held at The Radnor Hotel (591 East Lancaster Avenue, St. Davids, PA) on May 5, 2011 at 8 am – 10 am.

RSVP by April 29th, 2011; Register by calling 866-385-8033 (prompt #2).

Spread the word, and we look forward to seeing you there!

 


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!


Top 5 Ways to Cut Medical Costs

January 7, 2011

The cost of healthcare escalates by the day. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t find ways to cut corners on medical costs. Become a savvy health consumer with these five tips on cutting costs — without sacrificing quality of care — brought to you by The Healthcare Survival Guide: Cost-Saving Options for the Suddenly Unemployed.

1. Find a doctor who will forgo medical fees. Yes, they do exist. You can search for doctors in your area willing to forgo fees through the American Medical Association’s website.

2. Negotiate a discount with your doctor. Doctors are often far more willing to offer a discount or a payment plan for care than you might think – in a recent survey, 61 percent of adults who attempted to negotiate a discount were successful.

3. Instead of a specialist, use your primary doctor. Family doctors, general internists and pediatricians tend to charge less than specialists and can sometimes offer the same caliber of care. If you need maintenance care for a controlled chronic condition, this may be an option for you.

4. Need dental? Try a university dental clinic. Seeking care at a university dental clinic can cut your costs greatly – in some cases, patients pay only for the necessary materials – and the dental students and interns are closely supervised. Your state dental society can help you find a clinic near you.

5. Participate in a clinical trial. The U.S. National Institute of Health’s website lists current clinical trials being held across the nation. If you qualify, you could greatly reduce the costs of your care and medication – or eliminate them altogether.


Top 5 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Medical Bills

January 5, 2011

Doctor and hospital bills are routinely rife with errors and inaccuracies – costing you precious money. Save cash and peace of mind with these five tips on monitoring your medical bills, brought to you by The Healthcare Survival Guide: Cost-Saving Options for the Suddenly Unemployed.

1. Be specific when clarifying coverage with your insurer. Before receiving a medical procedure, check with your insurer to be sure what they will and will not cover. Keep detailed records of who you spoke with and when – this information will help you greatly when disputing a billing error.

2. Address billing errors quickly and aggressively. All too often, insurance companies and doctor’s offices issue incorrect bills. Don’t be a victim: insurance companies will often reprocess a claim, saving you money.

3. BYOM – Bring Your Own Medication. Don’t waste money paying for the same drugs at the hospital pharmacy.

4. Ask if you can pay in cash. Many hospitals offer a discount on bills paid in cash rather than check or credit. It never hurts to ask.

5. Opt for a non-teaching hospital, if possible. Community hospitals offer similar care as academic medical centers, and often at a lower cost. Ask your doctor.


Watch coauthor Abbie Leibowitz, M.D. on WGN Chicago

March 18, 2010

WGN Midday News in Chicago welcomed Healthcare Survival Guide coauthor Abbie Leibowitz, M.D. March 18. Anchor Steve Sanders asked Leibowitz to share with the WGN audience some of the book’s cost-cutting tips.

Video of the interview is now available. To watch the segment, click here: http://www.healthadvocate.com/tv.aspx?v=wgn-chicago