Being uninsured sucks. I still make an effort to stay on top of my medical care. I go to the dermatologist once a year, the dentist twice a year and I also go for my annual check up at my primary care doctor. All of this, for the most part, is paid out of pocket. Here’s how I do it.
In my monthly budget, I have $100 budgeted for “medical and dental costs”. Some months it’s a little more and some months a little less.
Although I don’t carry medical insurance, I do have the Ameriplan dental plan. It is not insurance but it is a discount plan that my dentist accepts. It costs $20 a month for my entire family and saves me about $300 a year. After the $240 annual cost, I come out about $60 or more ahead each year. This plan saves me about $50 per cleaning and checkup and then another $40 or so per procedure (fillings, emergency care, sealants, etc)
My dermatologist is really expensive but he is THE BEST at what he does. When I go in for my skin checks and all the other stuff he does, it is usually more than I expect. I pay $100 that day (from the budget) and then once I get the bill showing the balance due, I IMMEDIATELY call the billing office and set up a payment plan to pay off the balance. In addition, they do give me a “cash/self pay discount” which most doctors will do if you just ask (it is usually at least 10%)
With my primary care doctor, I pay an $80 “deposit” when I go in and then they bill me for the balance. After I had my last checkup, I got the balance for the remainder of the bill and it seemed a little high. After 3 phone calls (totaling about 1 hours worth of my time), they figured out that I had been billed on the wrong code and my bill for $175 was really supposed to be for $102 once it was coded correctly and my “cash discount” was applied. I saved $73 by spending one hour of my time making phone calls. ALWAYS call and ask if you think something is wrong. It doesn’t cost anything to ask! You should know what you are paying for!
Be honest with your providers. I make it very clear that I am a self-pay patient. All of my doctors have been very helpful in finding prescriptions that are on the free prescription list at Publix or on the $4 prescription list at Walmart. One time I needed a prescription that was $175! There was no other option available but my doctor checked their room of samples and found a full sized tube of the prescription for me and gave it to me for free ! As an added bonus, the package had an online survey for me to take and that got me a $25 Amazon gift card for taking the survey! Don’t forget to ask about “over the counter” medications as well. They often have lots of samples to give away so don’t be shy!
Ask your doctor about free clinics. The primary care doctor group that I see also runs an after hours free clinic for patients without insurance. While I go to their regular office for my checkups, all of my other visits can be done at the after hours clinic for free and they also have access to my medical records because it is run by the same group of doctors. Going to this after hours clinic can also get me reduced fees on any necessary labwork that I need done.
Hopefully this post gives you a few new ideas on how to save some money on medical care. Your health is important and you need to take care of yourself, even if you don’t have insurance.
In today’s post I am going to spill the beans on one of my BIGGEST secrets: How I get FREE movie tickets
I routinely go to FREE movie screenings and premieres. This means that I get to see movies BEFORE they actually open in the movie theaters. For instance, tomorrow night I am going to the Orlando premiere of “Fast and Furious 6” (four free tickets) and then Thursday I am going to see the Oviedo premiere of “The Internship” (two free tickets). With ticket prices here in central Florida at $10 or more per person, this is over $60 worth of free movie tickets!
There are usually two ways I get the tickets (both are totally FREE):
I registered at Gofobo.com and I check there regularly for screenings in my area. Sometimes there are “open screenings” you just click and get the tickets. Other times there are “ticket drawings” you enter and if selected, you get free tickets. I have gotten a few emails from them telling me a special code to use on their site to get the tickets. I usually check back daily and I always enter the drawings
I “liked” WildAboutMovies on Facebookand check back in there a few times a day. They post notices on things like when Universal hosts their own movie screenings and starts offering passes.
In addition to the free tickets, there are often other “perks” at these events. Free posters, sometimes you get to meet some of the stars, and a few times we have gotten goodie bags too! The pictures in this post are of my friend Kristen and I at the premiere of “Miss March” a few years ago. We got to meet the stars of the movie Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore (who are also stars of the TV show “The Whitest Kids You Know”).
I do need to point out that we tend to show up about an hour before the time on the passes to make sure we get in and get seats! These screenings are usually overbooked because they want to screen the movie to a full house. Also, typically, you cannot take your cell phones, etc. in with you so be sure to leave them in the car or at home. They are VERY serious about this!
Earlier this week one of Ben’s teachers and her daughter both came down with a stomach flu. Now, it seems Ben has caught the same bug. Yuck. It is just a normal part of having kiddos in school …. they bring things home with them!
A few years ago, I hit upon this brilliant (yet obvious) idea of using the 48 oz. large tubs (3 pounds) that our butter comes in as, well, “puke buckets”. Here’s what’s great about this idea:
They are free! All you have to do is clean them out once the butter is gone.
It gives me the chance to recycle them and reuse them
It is MUCH nicer to throw up in a clean butter dish than it is to stick your head in a toilet or a garbage can
Since we have so many of them, we can keep one in every room so that there is always one nearby for emergencies when someone cannot make it to the bathroom in time
You can even keep a few clean ones in the car (along with the lids so that nothing spills)
They are smaller and easier to manage for little kiddos but they are also large enough to hold a lot!
Once they have been used, you can either clean them and reuse them again or just throw them away
In addition to having a few of these butter tubs always on hand, I also make sure that I always have these items in my kitchen:
Lysol or Clorox wipes for all the door handles, faucet handles and toilet handles
Lots of washrags
Lysol spray for disinfecting mattresses
A few extra bed sheets and towels
Baby wipes, kleenex, paper towels and toilet paper
Crackers, chicken soup, dry cereal and a clear soda like Sprite or ginger ale
Keeping these items on hand and ready to use makes dealing with a stomach virus a lot easier (because going to the store with sick kiddos, or when you are sick, sucks!)! If you plan ahead, you can grab these things when they go on sale or whenever you have a coupon too!
“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin–real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way; something to be gotten though first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life, this perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Alfred D’Souza
The quote above makes me think about the first time you got to stay up all night on New Year’s Eve. You were so disappointed. You thought that all those years you went to bed early you were missing all the fun!
Once you were allowed to stay up late, you realized that it wasn’t quite like Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve at our house! Life is like that. You think that once you reach a goal, attain an age, gain an accomplishment, finish a project, find true love, then and only then will you be satisfied, fulfilled and happy. The truth of the matter is that it’s not about all of the things that happen outside of you. It’s all about what happens INSIDE of you, no matter where life takes you!
24 years ago, on this very day, you came into my life and brought with you happiness, love and much joy <3 Now, never a day goes by that I don’t think of you and smile. May all of your days be filled with everything wonderful that life has to offer, as you find yourself and achieve your goals (inside or out!).
Happy birthday Louise! I love you so very much! BIG HUGS!
With Ben’s birthday this month, I was on the hunt for some new games for his Leapster 2. I ran across a great deal at the Just Between Friends sale that I posted about last month. I ended up getting him 14 new games for basically nothing! Then I realized that the case he was using to hold the 14 games he already had would NOT hold 14 more games! He was using a padded, zippered black cosmetic bag to keep all his games in and would just keep the Leapster loose without being in a case.
I started looking for a case for his Leapster that would also hold all (soon to be) 28 Leapster games. Most of the cases on the market hold 1 or 2 games and also the Leapster but I needed something better than that. I determined that it would be great if it was “padded” and could hold everything and had a handle. Then it occurred to me that we had a few leftover lunchboxes from the past few school years!
I quickly dug out last years Star Wars lunch box and sure enough everything fit! It is one of those “soft-sided” lunchboxes so it was padded too! Of course it also had the handle! Another plus is that it will hold MANY more games! Whoop! I love it when I come across a solution that works for FREE using something I already had on hand!
Needless to say, Ben is loving the new “Leapster case” because he loved that Star Wars lunch box! I can’t wait to see his face when he gets the 14 new games I got for him too! Here is what it looks like inside with everything in it (before the new games are added) !
As many of you know, I used to be pretty active with coupon shopping (you can find all of my couponing posts HERE). Now that there is an Aldi near my home (less than five minutes away), my need for coupons has greatly decreased. I let my two newspaper subscriptions run out and then cancelled them. I thought that would be the end of my couponing. Apparently this is not the case.
While I am definitely not couponing as much, I find it interesting that once I stopped my subscriptions, I continued to get coupons. Every week, there is a free newspaper distributed to my neighborhood (by the regular newspaper delivery guy) and in that free paper are the same coupons that were in the Sunday paper! All this time I had been paying for two subscriptions when I could have been getting the coupons for free! Jeesh! Oh, and since my single, male neighbor doesn’t use his paper I get that one too! So, same amount of coupons FREE!
So, if you have a newspaper subscription just for the sake of getting coupons, start watching the driveways in your area. If you see that they are getting a free weekly paper, maybe you can cancel your subscription and save a few dollars.