The Wall Street Journal is reporting that insured Americans are using fewer health care services, suggesting that the increasing costs of health care might finally be reducing demand. At the big picture level, this is actually good news -- one of the long-sought goals of health care reformers is to get Americans to have fewer procedures. But for you and me, it can be a painful process. Those co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket medical expenses seem to be getting more and more expensive, and the forecast isn't sunny: They are estimated to cost an average of $9,000 per family by 2012 by the National Coalition on Health Care. For those without health care, it's even worse. Here are six websites that might help you:
CLAHealthcare.com: A $49.95 annual membership in Chiropractic Lifecare of America entitles you to an initial consultation, exam diagnostics and X-rays at participating chiropractors at rates that are supposedly 50 percent lower than the national average, plus unlimited $30 spinal adjustments. If you don't save at least the cost of your membership in a year, CLA will refund it.
DentalPlans.com: Discount dental plans can serve as an alternative to (or a supplement for) existing dental insurance. This site helps you compare available plans in your region, check which local dentists are participating, and gauge savings on a variety of treatments.
EyeBenefits.com: For an annual membership of $30 (individual) or $45 (family), you're entitled to discounts of 10 percent to 50 percent off the customary fee or retail price for eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses.
InsureMe.com: You can use this free consumer referral service to get quotes from agents and compare coverage rates in your area for health, life, long-term care, and other types of insurance. (HealthCare.gov can help you understand and find health insurance options as well, however specific prices won't be posted until October.)
PPARX.org: If you can't afford the medication your doctor has ordered, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance may be able to help get it for free or at a greatly reduced cost. Through this site you can access nearly 500 public and private programs and almost 200 pharmaceutical companies that offer assistance.