Sunday, December 28, 2008

Champagne Living & Drive-thru Health Care

Living Rich à la Champagne Living means not only being able to enjoy the finer things at a deep discount or even FREE, but it also means taking care of the day to day basics (food, clothing, shelter, health care) with out going into debt. Lately I've been trying to dig through the Medicare maze that I do every year at this time. But, it got me thinking about how much it costs to go to the doctor and if there was a way to reduce your time waiting at the doctor's office and pay less as well.

I'm sure that you've seen the emergence of new retail health clinics that are popping up everywhere from CVS to Wal-Mart these days. I haven't had the need to use one of them lately, but I was thinking that it's nice to have them there. It never fails that I'll get a terrible cough on a Sunday, when all of the Urgent Care Clinics (and of course my personal doctor's office) are closed. Convenient - YES - cost effective -YES!

I did a little bit of digging to find that most of these clinics, like CVS's Minute Clinic take most health insurances (you might want to call before going to make sure). The wait is usually under 30 minutes - as opposed to sitting in an emergency room for 3 hours. Even without insurance, the prices are MUCH lower than the Urgent Care Centers. The price of visiting a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner at one of these Clinics ranges from about $50-$75 vs.$80-$250 at a Walk-In Urgent Care Clinic. A lot cheaper to say the least!

Be advised that these are not manned by doctor's (rather by nurse practitioners and physician's assistants), so before going you need to assess your symptoms and decide whether they are serious enough to warrant going to a hospital or not. But, for something like strep throat, a quick stitch of a sliced finger, minor burns, ear infections and the like these clinics serve the community quickly and for less money. Most are open evenings and weekends when anything other than a hospital emergency room will be closed.

So, if it's a minor illness, scrape or sprain consider visiting one of these clinics instead and save some of that money to enjoy à la Champagne Living.


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