Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, many of us will still need to watch our budgets. We will still want to find out how to save money on health care, especially those of us who are self-employed, underemployed, or older.
One way to cope with the exorbitant costs of insurance is to combine high-deductible hospital-surgical insurance with affordable community health care. The high deductible hospital-surgical plans are the most affordable of the insurance plans currently available. This insurance will be be replaced with the new Affordable Care Act insurance plans in 2014.
Community health centers
Because these plans only cover hospital and surgical care, those who buy hospital-surgical plans must also find affordable care for routine medical care, chronic conditions, and illnesses. The most affordable local option I’ve found to replace major medical insurance is Community Health Centers of Pinellas.
With South Pinellas locations in St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park and other locations in Mid-Pinellas and North Pinellas, Community Health Centers provide affordable health care on a sliding scale adjusted to income. In addition to primary care, the Centers offer well-woman and pediatric care, pharmacy, dental care, and vouchers for laboratory services. The Centers will also provide assistance in applying for subsidized insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange) from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
Community Centers are available as health care resources whether or not you have purchased any insurance. If you purchased hospital-surgical insurance, you will need to clarify what is covered and not covered to the Centers so the Centers can apply the sliding scale to what is not covered under your plan.
Finding affordable dental care can be difficult. St. Petersburg College offers inexpensive dental cleaning/scaling and X rays by students in the dental hygiene program. Other dental care is available from Community Centers or private dentists. (Note: I do not recommend the local University of Florida clinic in Seminole because cost savings and service are not significant values compared with an experienced dentist.)
Please feel free to post any other resources you have found helpful in St. Petersburg. Getting the word out about health resources is critical to our obtaining quality care that we can afford.
Till next time, stay frugal and fancy-free.