Skip to comments.Seven Ways to Save Money Under Obamacare
Posted on 01/12/2014 7:44:14 AM PST by RKBA Democrat
With 2014 and the enactment of Obamacare only days away, were all wondering what this so-called Affordable Care Act will really cost us. Will your premiums be higher? Or your deductible? Will you lose employer-based coverage? Will your doctor simply give up and retire?
But Obamacare is not all bad. I view it as a wake-up call. In fact, I wouldnt be writing this article nor teaching people survival medicine skills if not for our current president. People tend to blame Obamacare for all the upcoming health care woes, but many of the looming hassles (from a doctors point of view) were in the pipeline long before his tenure, including penalties for not using an electronic health record, the costly conversion to a new coding system, and never-ending threats of Medicare payment cuts to levels far below the cost of care.
This article is not about finding the cheapest insurance; rather, its about decreasing your reliance on the system and learning how to care for yourself as far as possible. What follows are seven practical ways you can save a trip to the doctor now and how you can help yourself if and when youre on your own.
Sore throats. Most sore throats are caused by viruses, particularly when associated with hoarseness or a cough, and thus require no antibiotics. But what if its strep? Wouldnt you love to be able to test yourself at home? It turns out you can. The same Rapid Strep Kits used by doctors are available to you over-the-counter at a very reasonable price. For as little as $35 you can purchase a box of 25 test kits online, with a listed shelf life of at least 12 years (and likely much longer). The tests are really no more difficult than checking your own blood sugar. Performed correctly, accuracy (specificity and sensitivity) is on the order of 95%.
Another way to determine the likelihood of strep throat is by the Centor Criteria. Each of four symptoms receives a point: fever, pus on tonsils, tender glands in the neck, and absence of cough. Then add a point for age <15, or subtract a point for age >44. The risk of strep is determined based on total points: 01 <10% risk (no antibiotics indicated) 23 1532% risk (consider testing, and treat if positive) 45 56% risk (treat with antibiotics) Currently recommended antibiotics include penicillin and amoxicillin (250 500 mg 3x daily for 10 days). Other possible choices are erythromycin, azithromycin, cephalexin, other cephalosporins, or Augmentin.
Bladder infections. If youre getting up three times a night to urinate, are you just drinking too much water or is it perhaps a bladder infection? Again, wouldnt it be nice to test yourself at home? Yet again, it turns out you can. The same test strips doctors use are also available online (Multistix 10 SG or generic equivalent) for $15 to $50 for a box of 100. If leukocytes (white blood cells) and/or nitrites or blood are present in the urine, an infection is quite likely. Treatment is directed at drinking plenty of water (aim for 8 glasses a day) and short-term treatment (usually 3 days is sufficient) with an antibiotic such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin, or amoxicillin-clavulanate. (This information applies to women only; men with urinary symptoms may have an STD, prostate infection, or a kidney stone.)
Ankle injuries. Say your son twists his ankle, and you wonder if its broken. Do you really need an X-ray? Not as often as you might think. The Ottawa Ankle Rules give an excellent estimate of whether or not a bone is likely broken. An ankle X-ray is only needed if there is any pain in the malleolar zone (ankle bones on either side) PLUS any of the following: Bone tenderness along either ankle bone (right over the bone, or up the leg 23 inches) Inability to bear weight for 4 steps BOTH immediately after injury AND in the ER.
If you can walk on a sprained ankle, odds are quite slim that it is broken.
Another test is the tuning fork test. Placing a vibrating tuning fork over a broken bone causes pain, but not so if the ankle is simply sprained.
A presumed fractured ankle should be splinted a few days with no weight-bearing permitted, then casted after danger of additional swelling is past (total of 6 to 8 weeks). A sprained ankle should be splinted as well, but with walking permitted as tolerated.
Poison ivy. Most people still think poison ivy is contagious, but its not. And it will resolve on its own by two weeks. Treatment is only aimed at making the patient more comfortable (unless youve inhaled poison ivy smoke or rubbed it in your eyes). So you dont have to see a doctor for simple poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help (and many people swear by jewelweed). Some doctors will call in a stronger steroid without an appointment. OTC antihistamines help the itch (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra), and are as strong as prescription drugs. Of all the patients Ive seen with poison ivy over the years, at most 5% actually needed to see a physician.
Ear ache. Most ear aches dont require antibiotics or a trip to the doctor. A few days of pain medication is all that is required in adults and older children with otitis media. Physicians still prescribe antibiotics at times, but often only to please the patient. With every rule there are exceptions: the very ill-looking child, babies, and some children with recurrent ear infections do benefit from antibiotics. Top antibiotic choices include amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, cefdinir, and azithromycin.
GERD. Would you rather pay $150 for the purple pill or $5 for its first cousin? Its not really amazing that a brand-name medication for acid reflux would be so expensive, but rather that a similar generic has dropped in price so quickly. The purple pill is esomeprazole, which decreases the amount of stomach acid produced. A very similar medication, pantoprazole, does the same job, but the generic is now dirt cheap. If you are taking prescription Nexium, Aciphex, Prilosec, Prevacid, or Dexilant for heartburn or acid reflux, you may want to switch to this money-saving generic. Unfortunately, pantoprazole remains by prescription only. Second-best inexpensive choices would be OTC generic Prevacid or Prilosec. Checking these online today, I find prices as low as $10 for 60 count 20-mg omeprazole (generic Prilosec) also a great deal.
And dont forget that heartburn can be greatly reduced by avoiding aspirin, other anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen), tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, fatty, foods, acid foods, and too much food. (If it tastes good, dont eat it.)
Diabetes. You can learn to treat diabetes (Type 2) on your own with very little danger of complications [if you closely monitor your blood sugar levels.] Of course, you should begin with a reasonable diet and exercise, but beyond that certain herbs will help a mild case (e.g. cinnamon 1 to 6 grams a day), and OTC insulin may be required for more severe disease. Anyone can get a blood sugar monitor without a prescription, though the test strips can be costly. You can also obtain a test kit for hemoglobin A1C for under $10/test on Amazon and elsewhere. Simple urine strips (see above) aid in testing your urine for protein, ketones, and sugar. There is more information available free online to anyone than I had access to as a medical student. Check out aafp.org for dozens of free articles. Ideally you should work with your own doctor now (while you can) to establish a treatment regimen you can follow and monitor on your own when no doctors help is available.
When I teach my Survival Medicine classes, I tell my students that were aiming at the 90%, i.e. those with typical problems not the 10% with severe or unusual conditions. The foregoing information does not cover every situation, but it does apply to most, and I think 90% is a good place to start.
Hat tip to TBW2 for the link.
You'll find a large number of folks who obtain these "free" via Medicare and Medicaid selling them at big discounts on eBay, Craigslist, etc.
Good info to keep on file. Thanks.
“You’ll find a large number of folks who obtain these “free” via Medicare and Medicaid selling them at big discounts on eBay, Craigslist, etc.”
Can’t say I’m wild about that. But at least they’re going to people who actually need and can use them.
It’s all part of the ginormous underground economy as the US devolves into a third world scenario.
Couple days ago I read a story how canned cola has become a defacto currency of poor rural Kentucky. When the $500 food stamp deposit arrives, everybody purchases cases of canned pop.
Then they sell the pop to other stores for 50 cents on the dollar.
“I view it as a wake-up call. In fact, I wouldnt be writing this article nor teaching people survival medicine skills if not for our current president.”
I totally agree with that! I am in very good health, though will need some foot surgery in the future - Thanks, Mom; inherited your feet, LOL!
I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to get things that you need: antibiotics, etc. through various pet supply channels, etc.
I wonder how HUGE the Black Market will be under 0bamacare? I’m betting IMMENSE and like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Wonder if the Mafioso are already on this? ;)
It’s gonna be SO much fun when we’re all living in dark caves....and, of course, STILL paying taxes to Mother Government. *SMIRK*
See my Post #8 - similar lines...
I found a few months ago that Wal-Mart has a tester called Reli On and the test strips are $9.00 for 50, off the shelf.
This is excellent prepper info. from a doctor. I have copied it.
NASA's top biochemist came up with this recipe to reduce phlegm for astronauts on space missions.
This recipe will lessen the phlegm dramatically where it won't settle into your chest. You will still feel under the weather, but with way, way less phlegm.
This is as close to a cure as NASA could come up with.
This is the recipe:
(Begin the moment you notice a cold coming on - sneezing, catch in the throat, etc.)
Vitamin A 20,000 IU (Use a natural vitamin A like fish liver oil - "vitamin A palmitate" is a fake A and not good to take in large doses)
Pantothetic Acid 250 mg (This is Vitamin B-5)
Zinc 50 mg
Vitamin C 1,000 mg (Take 3 times for a total of 3,000 mg per day)
Take everyday through your cold or flu and a few days after your symptoms have disappeared. These vitamins can be taken with medication.
At the beginning of your cold or flu you can double or triple the A and the C, especially if you didn't nab the cold quick enough.
The reason why these vitamins work is that they repair your cells so that they are strong enough to fight off bacteria and viruses.
I have used this recipe for nearly 15 years. My kids have used it and never had bad colds when their roommates at college did.
Well, the kakistocrats wanted us to look more like the rest of the world. I guess a burgeoning underground economy will be one of the hallmarks of that. This is the underlying reason that I see for amnesty: we have millions of people living here who theoretically shouldn't be able to survive, but seem to be doing just fine on the underground economy. The kakistocrats don't want the rest of us to look around and start getting uppity ideas about doing the same thing.
"Couple days ago I read a story how canned cola has become a defacto currency of poor rural Kentucky."
And in the ghettos, bottles of Tide detergent have become a defacto currency as well. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I find it sad that part of our population has to use soda pop and detergent as currency. On the other had, those de facto currencies will probably retain their value better than yellen bux will!
“I expected undertaker to be on the list.”
You won’t be able to afford one. I predict a future thread on low cost funeral arrangements.
Do you have that article handy?
Just posted on FR!
>>Ive been amazed at how easy it is to get things that you need: antibiotics, etc. through various pet supply channels, etc.
Yes, it’s a very good idea to have several bottles of different antibiotics on hand in case your “fish” get sick.
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