Health insurance isn’t exactly cheap, and you may not be able to afford one out of pocket if your employer doesn’t provide it. However, if you are prone to illness, you may need regular checkups at the doctor. Even if you are as fit as a fiddle, regular medical checkups are a great way to catch any issues early and prevent the need for extensive treatment later on.
Chances are that if you can’t afford to get health insurance, you may not be able to afford medical checkups either. But what if we told you there are numerous ways in which you can get a health checkup for free or at a seriously discounted cost?
Here are 8 low-cost or free services for your health:
Check with your local Health Resources and Services Administration to find communities near you that provide low-cost or free community health clinics. You may be asked to pay a very nominal amount based on your monthly income or even no charges at all.
There are free clinics set up all around the country that provide health services for routine illnesses and injuries as well as long-term or chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and high cholesterol. Certain free clinics may even offer women’s healthcare, prenatal care, dental, medical testing, and prescription drug assistance. Communities may also hold health drives for screening everything from blood sugar to your eyesight – so don’t fail to take advantage!
Clinical Trials & Studies
With advances in medicine and healthcare coming up nearly every day, researchers are constantly looking for people to join studies and clinical trials to help test new products and techniques. If you have a medical issue but cannot afford to get healthcare for it, try to find out if any local universities or research facilities are conducting clinical trials related to it. For instance, researchers at the National Institute for Mental Health conduct numerous studies around the country with both patients and healthy individuals. In certain cases, you may even get paid for participating in a study or clinical trial.
Make sure to check with your doctor before joining a clinical trial because not all of them may be right for you. They could range from invasive to non-invasive, so make sure you know what you are signing up for.
Free or Low-Cost Breast and Cervical Cancer Checkup
Skin cancer isn’t the only type of cancer that requires regular screening, especially if you are a woman. The most common types of cancers that women are affected by include cervical and breast cancers, resulting in thousands of deaths every year.
However, like other types of cancers, early detection of pre-cancerous cells can help prevent escalation and effective treatment. The CDC offers free or low-cost screenings through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program for people women who are uninsured or come from low-income backgrounds.
There’s no doubt that health insurance premiums are expensive, but you can still opt for low-cost healthcare policies. While these policies are only meant to last for a short period, they can help you get at least some form of coverage if you cannot afford regular healthcare or are searching for a job that comes with employer-provided healthcare.
Given that these plans typically cost as little as only a third of regular healthcare plans, this makes it affordable for a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to otherwise. However, it’s important to keep in mind that low-cost healthcare plans often exclude a lot of conditions and services, so make sure you know what you are signing up for.
Free Mental Health Counseling
Mental health is a rising problem that is often not taken as seriously as it should be. It does not discriminate either as anyone, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity can suffer from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. While getting help for these ailments is as important as getting help for physical ailments (or more so, in certain cases), psychiatrist or counseling charges can be ridiculously high.
However, the good news is that those who cannot afford them can still seek out ways to get help. Simply dial 211 to find out about low-cost or free mental health facilities available in your area. In extreme scenarios, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “HELLO” to 741741 to talk to someone at the Crisis Text Line. There are several other free national crisis helplines that can help you deal with your mental health issues and the resources can be easily found on the internet.
Free HIV Testing Clinics
Another deadly disease that can utterly wreck your immune system and health is AIDS. Like cancer, there is no cure for HIV yet, but there is medication to help patients live fulfilling lives for a long time. Once again, early detection is one of the main ways to attain proper treatment.
The upside is that you can get free testing for HIV through screening centers operated by the American Healthcare Foundation. You don’t even need an appointment; all you have to do is walk in and get yourself tested!
Free Skin Cancer Screening
There were around 106,000 new cases of invasive melanoma and 101,00 cases of situ melanoma diagnoses in the United States in the year 2021 alone. It’s no surprise that cancer is one of the deadliest diseases that one can be diagnosed with, and skin cancer makes up about 1% of cancer deaths every year.
The “silver lining” is that early detection can help significantly increase your chances of survival. Since early symptoms of skin cancer can easily be confused with common ailments, it’s important to do regular screenings.
If you do not have healthcare, don’t fret. You do not have to go to the doctor to get a skin cancer checkup. The American Academy of Dermatology provides free skin cancer screenings at a number of locations across the country as part of their SpotMe campaign, so you can book a consult with them if you spot something suspicious on your skin.
Free Blood Pressure Check at Pharmacies
High blood pressure is one of the most common health issues faced by people all around the world and can lead to much more serious cardiac problems. That’s why it’s important to regularly check your blood pressure.
Apart from community health checkups, you can also get your blood pressure checked from a number of pharmacies that provide the service for free. Depending on the location, you might find DIY-style blood pressure machines or even get your pressure checked by a professional who can advise you further if they spot any issues.