The New York Times recently launched
a weekly column to help readers understand and make decisions on tough
financial choices facing health care consumers. The first column, “Health Care
You Can’t Afford Not to Afford” gave suggestions on how to make decisions on
what is worth coughing up the co-pay for treatment or medicine.
Dr. Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, is giving crafty tips about skipping routine checkups such as an annual physical if you’re feeling in great shape and don’t have symptoms. He says also children, past vaccination age, can skip one or two if they’re a healthy weight. Epperly goes on to recommend stretching out or postponing routine screenings like mammograms, but that there are three areas you shouldn’t skip no matter how desperate you are for cash.
First, many people recently surveyed by Kaiser said they were splitting doses, skipping, or not filling their prescriptions at all. We know diabetes medication is incredibly important, and skipping on insulin or oral medication isn’t safe and will ultimately cause damage long-term. If you’re having issues, try talking to your doctor. There may be less expensive or generic alternatives. Or, there might be prescription drug aid programs. Contact your local ADA office to see what they know of local resources, or look to MedlinePlus for different financial assistance, backed by the National Institutes of Health.
Second, never ignore or delay care for symptoms. It may work for completely healthy, but not for someone with a chronic illness. Call your doctor if you’re having symptoms to prevent something worse happening. Ask your doctor about free screening programs and low-cost clinics for an affordable alternative.
Finally, they recommend keeping your general well-being in check – and we agree. It’s easy to slip once or twice and skip exercising, eating well and taking care of ourselves. But in this day and age, it’s especially important to keep up with healthy habits and get a good night’s sleep every night! Those are ones that we struggle with … but seeing it in print, it’s harder to ignore.