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New Years Resolution Part 3- Saving on your Medical Bills

Medical Bills can be one of life's most unexpected and expensive expenses.  If you have insurance some of these costs can be defrayed .  If you don't have insurance there are ways you can save on medical expenses for yourslef and your family . You might think resolving to spend less on medical care is impossible, think again.

Medical Care :  If you are out of work or are not covered by health insurance in Las Vegas you can visit MiniCare .  With a new clinic opening near Meadows Mall , you can get medical care for some minor illenesses, medication refills, sutures etc.. The cost is just $22.00 per clinic visit, which is far less than the usual $50-$100 or more co-pay you would be charged for a non emergent visit to an ER , and less expensive than a Minute Clinic or other Quick Care.  You can also visit the Southern Nevada health district for routine medical care if you are uninsured. 

In the event of an emergency, meaning a life or limb threatening condition, you can not be refused care in an Emergency Room anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley .  You can also save a significant amount of money by not calling an ambulance for non -emergencies , they won't get you into the ER any faster than walking yourself through the front door .  Most ambulance transports will cost you roughly $500 , and if your problem did not warrent an ambulance your insurance company can and may refuse to pay the charges, leaving you with a heafty and unneccessary bill.

Speaking of emergencies it is always cheaper to treat a problem before it becomes an emergency or develops into a more serious condition.  Regardless of your financial situation keeping yourself and your family healthy is a good investment.

Prescriptions : Saving on prescriptions is as easy as pre planning your purchases.  By simply ordering routine medication quarterly you could save between 20 and 30% .  You can also speak with your doctor about doubling your prescription .  For example if your script is for 50mg , and there is a 100mg formula available , and the pill is conducive, ask your doctor to up your prescription .  By purchasing a 3 dollar pill splicer you could save even more than 30% .  While you are at the doctor find out if your medication is available in generic form , or if there is a similar and cheaper medication you could be taking  Just as in clothing or at the grocery store, even in medicine you are paying more money for a name.

You should participate in a Pharmacy rewards program, like the one offered at CVS.  You Earn 1 Extra Buck , good in store, when you fill 2 prescriptions with your CVS card.  There are many ways to use those Extra Care Bucks and save alot of money on other non prescription medicine and every day items.  Visit I Heart CVS for information about Pharmacy Reward Programs.

Dental Bills : prevention is the key to saving money on dental bills.  Courtesy of Oral B I was able to have a Q and A about dental hygiene and our children with Dr. Jennifer Salzer, mother of 4 and Dentist/ Orthodontist .  These are Dr. Salzers suggestions for how to prevent costly dental issues from the start

.Q1: When is the best time to start a brushing routine with children and what Oral-B products should we be using . Any tips for how to make this a productive and enjoyable experience would be appreciated.

A1. It is never too early to start a brushing routine with children! Oral health is an area that deserves attention from an early age, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Poor oral health can lead to other issues as the child grows, so it’s important to instill proper habits from the beginning. Parents can even start as early as 4-24 months, because proper oral care for children begins before the first tooth erupts.

To make brushing more enjoyable for children, parents can try the following:
Parents should brush their teeth with their child to set a good example. It also helps children to learn by watching and imitating their parent.
Sing your child’s favorite song, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or play a song from their favorite singer for the two minutes while they are brushing their teeth.
Give your child a toothbrush that is designed to appeal to a toddler who is learning to brush and whose baby teeth are growing in, like Oral-B Stages 2, which is designed to effectively reach all teeth, with its narrow head, simple bristle pattern and Power Tip.
For younger children, when their first teeth begin to appear, parents should brush teeth using a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush with a cushioned head to help protect babies’ tender gums, like Oral-B Stage 1 toothbrush.
It’s important that children two and older use fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent decay as their teeth continue to develop. One such toothpaste, Oral-B Stages, provides effective cavity protection in a kid-tested, mild formula gel that comes in fun flavors that kids love, like “Fruit Burst” or “Princess Bubblegum.”

Q2: When do children need to have their first dental appointment?

A2. Parents should schedule a checkup with the dentist for their baby at their pediatrician’s recommendation. A good rule of thumb is: “First visit by first birthday.”

Q3: Are Dental Carries Contagious?

A3. The bacteria that leads to dental caries can be contagious, as all bacteria is, however, in order for a "cavity" to form, the bacteria feeds on carbohydrates and forms sticky plaque. Therefore, dental caries can be prevented with proper oral hygiene.

Q4: Are bad teeth hereditary?

A4: It is not known for certain if "weak" teeth are passed on from generation to generation, but it is common for bad brushing habits to be "inherited." If a parent doesn't properly care for their mouth, it is unlikely that they will teach their children to be diligent.

Q5: Do crooked milk teeth foreshadow crooked adult teeth?

Q5: If the primary teeth are crowded, that is an indicator that there will not be enough room for the permanent teeth, and they will likely be crowded too. Idealy, "baby" teeth should have spaces between them.

Q6: What’s worse, thumb sucking or a pacifier (and when should parents break the sucking habit)?

A6: While comforting for a baby, both the pacifier and thumb sucking can alter the shape of a child's mouth. Usually, thumb sucking is a harder habit to break (since it can't be taken away!), so thumb suckers tend to hold on to the habit longer, leading to more malpositioning of the teeth. Parents should try to take pacifiers away by 6 months if possibly, although any mother knows, sleep is everyone's main goal at this stage, so it will be difficult!

Q7: Is there anything we can do to avoid more expensive dental procedures in our children, like braces, extractions, fillings?

A7: Practicing good dental care now can help both parents and their children avoid emergency treatments that can be painful and expensive later. This includes brushing three times a day after each meal and flossing at least once a day (parents should start flossing their children's teeth as soon as they see that teeth are touching). Eating a balanced diet is also important, as well as limiting between-meal snacks. Lastly, it is important to visit the dentist every six months for professional cleanings and oral exams.

Q8: Where can parents go to get dental care for their children if they do not have dental insurance?

A8. Some options for parents with no dental insurance include free or low-cost clinics and dental schools. There are usually dental schools in large cities that provide lower cost dental care by students under the supervision of highly educated and trained dentists.

In Las Vegas parents can obtain free or low cost dental care for themselves and their children from UNLV's Dental school and there is also Dentalville practices that offer some affordable programs for children without dental insurance.

If you are intersted in getting a free tooth brush or paste for your child visit Jami Whitehead's main blog, Poor Mom.




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