Doctor Oz did a show called the Insider’s Guide to Getting the Best for the Least to teach us how to save money at the doctor’s office. Dr Oz knows that 15 million of us are unemployed and millions of others are scrambling just to make ends meet. Feeding our families and paying bills can really start to add up and most people are making less money than just 10 years ago. In addition, 45 million of us do not have health insurance and others with health insurance are under-insured, which means that 50% of people are skipping doctors visits, dentist visits and prescriptions. Dr Oz gave a list of how to dramatically cut your medical expenses at four different medical professionals.
Free Pap Smears
Dr Evelyn Minaya, an ObGyn, has been a practicing doctor for 16 years and told Dr Oz that sometimes patients have the misconception that doctor’s are just about the business. But most doctors are there to take care of you and actually care about you (though sometimes I have run into doctors for whom this is definitely not the case). I was shocked to hear Dr. Minaya say that you can get a free pap smear the 2nd Friday of each January. So this January, lets all promise to get get our free pap smear. You just have to print something out at NCCC-Online.org to get a Free Pap Smear.
Dr Oz had a guest on his show who was unemployed and said she had not had a Pap Smear for three years, which just broke my heart. Why are Pap Smears so important? Well, Dr Oz showed how Pancreatic Cancer first starts out small and grows big quickly so that sometimes it is impossible to catch up with it. However, with Cervical Cancer, the cancer grows slowly and so if you detect it with a Pap Smear, you have a high rate of recovering.
Lab Test Discount Cards
Dr. Evelyn Minaya also told Dr Oz that you can get Lab Test Discount Cards from various labs that can give you up to 30% on urine tests and blood tests. Just ask your doctor’s office and they can often provide it to you. Don’t forget, your doctor is supposed to be there for you like an ally!
Free Breast Exams
Dr Minaya also told Dr Oz that in honor of Breast Cancer Month, in October many hospitals give free breast exams and Mammograms. If you fall into the low income category, you can also receive discounts and help by going to CDC.gov or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO.
The next doctor to join Dr Oz was Dr. David Katz, an Internist at the Yale Prevention Research Center. Dr. Katz said that one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can save money by taking care of yourself like by not smoking, getting sleep, eating right and exercising. Also, you should build a network that includes a Social Worker. When a patient says finance is an issue, Dr Oz also talks to a patient about working with a Social Worker who can help with financing and alleviating the cost. Call your local hospital or your doctor’s office and ask for a recommendation on a social worker.
Another great tip is that you can go to many grocery clinics or drugstore clinics popping up everywhere. It is convenient to just stop in for a checkup and it is staffed with a knowledgeable nurse practitioner who sees a garden variety of problems all day long. Dr Oz especially recommends drugstore clinics for vaccinations, physical exams, respiratory problems, minor injuries and minor infections. If you need a doctor, they will refer you to one as well.
Free Clinic Website
Dr David Katz said that there are free clinics nationwide, and there is no shame in using them, there is only shame in losing your health. Call your local health department to find a Free Clinic, or you can visit HRSA.gov or FreeClincs.us
Free Dental Screenings
Dr Oz’s next doctor was Gerald Curatola, a denist, who said that you can visit dental schools all across the country for free screenings and clinics that can save you up to 75% sometimes. The one caveat is that it may take more time. Dr. Curatola said that the dental students are supervised by a dentist. There are also specialty programs where a license dentist goes to further their knowledge.
Dr Oz showed how if you don’t take care of your teeth, you can get the recession of your gum line, and as you age, if you don’t take care of your teeth, you can lose your teeth and the top jaw can recede back. This can cause lose of bone and your face to sink in. Dr Curatola told Dr Oz that people are often too embarrassed to negotiate a price, but you can often negotiate discounts. Plus, as the saying goes, good dentistry is expensive but not as expensive as bad dentistry… so true! Here is Dr Oz’s negotiation guideline for dental procedures:
- Ask for 15% off if you are having multiple procedures done
- Negotiate with your dentist and not the front desk, because the dentist will have more empathy
- Ask for a cash discount (where they charge you less if you pay in cash rather than with a credit card)
- Ask for a free cleaning in exchange for referring a patient.
Dr Oz called 8 dentists in 5 different states and each office offered some sort of a discount, whether it was 5% to 10% or $50 credits… or even $25 discounts and flowers!