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Healthcare can cost you — even if you’re insured. A number of plans have a long list of remedies that are either not covered or require you to meet a hefty deductible. But there are ways to stay healthy without breaking the bank. Consider these options:
Clinical trials. By participating in clinical trials, you’ll receive top medical care as well as the latest, though experimental, treatments. Those with illnesses not responding to standard medical treatments might benefit from new therapies, which are closely monitored by physicians and other researchers involved.
Veritas Medicine (www.veritasmed icine.com), founded in 1999, is an online health resource focused on improving patient access to free clinical trials. It offers information about therapies under development for more than 100 medical conditions.
Another online database is www.clin icaltrials.gov, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Both sites give detailed information on the benefits and risks of clinical trials, and offer access to research on the latest trials.
These services are completely free of charge. Anyone can log on to these sites and fill out a questionnaire concerning his or her medical ailment and receive a personalized report of clinical trials related to the illness.
Preventive healthcare. Here’s good news for women. Free or low-cost Pap smear tests and mammography services are available through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbc cedp or call 888-842-6355 for details. Although testing services are available nationwide, there are varying age and income requirements. Contact the local division of the organization for details.
Another source of mammography information, is www.wecaremedical mall.org/mammograms. The site offers tips and healthcare programs for women of all ages and incomes.
You can also practice preventive medicine at home with Food and Drug Administration-approved medical self-tests that are available from several companies. Home Health Testing and Test Medical Symptoms @ Home both provide a number of kits designed to probe for everything from cholesterol to cancer. These tests give people the option of testing for highly preventable diseases such as prostate cancer in the comfort of their own homes for less than $40. Visit www.home-healthtesting.com or www .testsymptomsathome.com.
Over-the-counter drugs. The Medicine Program is a nonprofit organization that helps qualifying individuals access free prescriptions. To qualify, the applicant’s income must fall within the set limits of a particular sponsor. Income requirements can range from below the national poverty level up to $60,000 depending on the type of medication needed. Those interested can visit www.themedicineprogram.com.
For free samples of your favorite over-the-counter drugs visit www.momson thego.com/tollfree_medicine.htm, a Website designed for working mothers. You can find deals on well-known brands such as Maalox and Excedrin.