Healthcare can be a serious wallet-trimmer sometimes, especially in emergencies, if you are not insured or covered. Yet, many people do manage things quite well, with just a few simple tricks and techniques at hand. Here are the top eleven things that anyone can adopt to cut down their healthcare costs significantly –
1. Know herbal medicine and home remedies.
Remember how Grandma used to have a poultice or powder for every boo-boo and fever we had? Not to brag, it does work! In my professional experience, people who are knowledgeable in herbal home remedies are found to be making 40% lesser clinic visits and expenditure, than those who don’t. So make a list of at least 15 home remedies that you know and use. If you can’t, get onto work with this one!
2. ALWAYS purify drinking water.
Almost half the diseases notified under the Notifiable Diseases Act and Epidemics Act are water-borne. That, compounded by metallic and organic impurities creeping into public water supply, provide the biggest chunk of business to doctors. You can keep yourself out with just a few simple measures. For most bacteria, sodium hypochlorite solution, that is available over-the-counter at any pharmacist can suffice. For impurities, activated carbon tablets and some alum can do the job quite well. There are a host of others ways too. Won’t go into details due to article length constraints, ask in the comments if you get stuck.
3. Understand and implement food safety at home.
No big sci-fi stuff, just the simple essential things. Here’s a few –
– Always reheat stale unrefrigerated food before eating, to kill the bacteria that may have developed in it.
– Keep food covered and protected from insect contact.
– Know HOW to eat food in the best way possible. Read here in detail, in my earlier article.
4. Know and avoid the occupational hazards of your trade.
Are you into IT/BPO? Computer vision syndrome. Paints/chemical industry? Chronic metal poisoning. Construction/mining? Siderosis. Laundry? Eczema and tennis elbow (Yes, it is not only for tennis players!). Animal farm? A whole horde of pathogens has its eyes on you! Every profession comes with its own piggy-back troupe of diseases. Know yours well, and always guard against it.
5. Build a Pharmacy-in-a-Window.
Pot atleast five multipurpose and low-maintenance medicinal plants at home. If you don’t know any, just follow this blog! (Coming soon, Pharmacy-in-a-pot series, exclusively for you!)
6.Connect with a childhood friend who became a Doc.
Bitter and unfair, but true; most doctors are Moody Mikes who judge and charge you based on how useful a person they perceive you to be; and there’s no legislation to stop them from doing that. So it is wise to cultivate a rapport with one today, and harvest in the future when you need. If that is not possible, a good bet can be an old friend who has become a Doc now. Even if they don’t belong to the speciality you need, they can still give you far better practical advice on costs than what you can gather otherwise.
7. Know the subsidized hospitals in town.
Healthcare has always been a prick for most, so there are always some institutions around everywhere, catering to those who need them. Government hospitals, though the cheapest, have a notorious reputation for quality. Teaching hospitals generally fare better on this front, but can prove a riskier choice for having a surgery done. Rest on the list are the charitables, WHO facilities, research centers and others; each having their own pros and cons. It is always good to know all the local ones, just in case.
8. Plan in advance for anticipated medical events.
Not all major medical expenses present themselves as emergencies. Some can be planned for in advance, the biggest examples being maternity and vaccination. Plan them wisely in consultation with a good doctor. Even for emergencies, always keep some reserve funds set aside.
9. Research the net to understand your health condition better.
The internet is, nowadays, overflowing with medical information of all sorts. Do your homework, explore what the doctor told you, and try to understand your health better. You can also use a reputable online consultation forum if needed. A word of caution though, not everything out there is true and safe. Stick to a reputable and well-referenced source, and cross-consult with your practitioner. Still, remember that no online doctor can diagnose you as good as a physically present one, except in the simpler cases.
10. Ask for cheaper generic medicines when tight on budget.
Several manufacturers offer medicines cheaper by getting an ‘abbreviated approval’ from the government regulators, saving a lot of money on clinical trials. These drugs, though possibly less efficacious than the benchmark ones, are nevertheless well within acceptable limits of potency norms. One can go for such drugs to save money, by asking for them at the drug-store.
11. Take help of support groups for prolonged/irreversible illness.
Prolonged or irreversible illness can take both a big financial and emotional toll on the patient and their family. In such a case, support groups, forums or communities can help a lot, especially in terms of know-how, continuous care and emotional support. There are many of them out there, I won’t specifically promote any, but you can find a suitable one by searching the internet any time. Again, do your homework – it is worth the effort.
That’s all for today, folks!
To wind it up,
“A Smile is a Curve that sets Everything Straight!”
Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
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