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Got an earache or soar throat? Visit a walk-in clinic found at retail stores like CVS and Wal-Mart or got to a community health clinic for a physical or to pick up birth control pills. In the retail store, the cost can be about $25 to $100 for treating minor ailments, or about 25% less than the cost of care in a doctor's office. Some of the retail stores take insurance, but most will make you pay this discounted price, which may come out significantly less than your co-pay and deductible combine. Plus, no appointment is necessary, and patients are usually in and out within 15 minutes.
On the other hand community clinics bill according to you income, so be sure you have you W-2, payment stubs, and social security information available. Most of these clinics are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These clinics vary in the types of services that they provide. You might want to call in advance because every clinic is different and offer slightly different services depending on what the state has allocated for the year. A directory of health centers can be found at www.ask.hrsa.gov/pc.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|