The medical industry in America is one of the most expensive and inefficient in the first world. In 2016, U.S. citizens spent about double what citizens of other wealthy countries did on health care.
A knee replacement costs about $28,000 in the U.S. In Spain, it costs $6,000. This means you could fly from New York to Madrid, have your surgery, stay in a nice hotel for a month while you recover, eat fabulous Spanish food, see the sights, and fly home and still save more than $10,000.
In an economy where medical supplies are so expensive, we’re all looking for ways to save money. Luckily, there are some programs that can help you find affordable medical supply options. Read on to learn more.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to find medical supplies for less is to shop online. One search for “discount medical supplies” turns up dozens of websites aimed at getting you medical supplies for less. You can also shop around and price compare to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
You do want to be careful with websites like this to watch out for scammers. It’s easy to set up a website, and many of these sites may offer shoddy supplies, or may take your money and never send you anything. Look for websites that have a good reputation, and be wary of anything that seems too good to be true – it probably is.
Assistive Technology Acts
There is a federal Assistive Technology Act program in all 50 states in the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories. These acts are aimed at helping elderly and disabled people get the medical supplies they need. They cover “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”
There are several ways these programs work to help individuals get hands on the medical supplies they need. Programs can loan devices out to patients for a short period of time, allowing people who need to test the equipment first to do so. They also offer low-interest loans and grants aimed at helping patients pay for their equipment.
Another great way to cut down on the cost of expensive medical equipment is to find refurbished or recycled equipment. For obvious reasons, this works only with things like wheelchairs or other equipment that can be sterilized. These programs sterilize, refurbish, and test used devices to make sure they’re functioning.
Many of the ATA programs that we mentioned work with refurbished equipment programs. They offer matching services that allow buyers and sellers to connect for free. They also maintain lists of equipment available for sale in the area.
Protection and Advocacy Programs
Aside from the Assistive Technology Acts, all 50 states also have Protection and Advocacy programs in place. These include sub-programs like Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology and Protection and Advocacy for Individual Rights. Their focus is more on helping you find compensation for denied insurance claims.
While these companies do not directly help pay for medical supplies, they do work with you to save you money. They have teams of lawyers who can help you contest a denied claim for durable medical equipment. If these denied claims get overturned, your insurance will have to help pay for your equipment.
In addition to government programs, there are also many nonprofits whose mission is making medical supplies affordable for those who need them. These focus on aging and disable people, and many of them work with free, long-term loans of medical equipment. There are three primary types of non-profits in this area.
National foundations are usually run by local chapters and are condition-specific, meaning you must have a specific diagnosis to be eligible. Local non-profits have their own eligibility requirements and typically rely on donations to get their medical supplies. Then there are lost limb organizations that are geared towards helping amputees or those who have lost use of their limbs.
If none of these programs will work for you, or if you need something less dire, such as eyeglasses, voucher programs may be a good option. These programs help you pay for your medical supplies and things like specific expensive medications. But like with online discount stores, there can be a lot of scammers out there, so be careful.
Looking for these voucher programs can be a challenge because of the number of online scammers. If your doctor prescribes you a medication that you can’t afford and your insurance won’t cover, ask them about voucher programs. They may be able to point you in the direction of a legitimate program that can help offset the cost.
Depending on your specific diagnosis, you may be able to get disease-based assistance. These are programs that focus on helping patients of one particular disease. You’re probably familiar with them through things like the American Cancer Society and the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge.
These societies are a combination of volunteer programs and government-funded organizations. They can help you cover a number of expenses, including drugs, office visits, nutrition transportation, child care, and more. Run a search for your diagnosis and “society” and chances are there’s one out there.
Learn More About Affordable Medical Supply Options
Medical treatment in America is insanely expensive, but you don’t have to pay full price. Do your research, talk to your doctor, and work with local healthcare advocacy organizations. Chances are you can find a program geared towards helping you find affordable medical supply options.
If you’d like to start saving money on medical supplies today, check out the rest of our site at Save Rite Medical. We offer home medical supplies for everything from respiratory conditions to diabetes. Check out the categories we cover to start saving money today.