Affordable Healthcare

As the debate in Congress about healthcare reform continues to rage, we the people need solutions right now. So here are some stop-gap measures for insuranceless individuals who need help now.

The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour is in progress now through November in 12 states: Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Don’t worry, this is not just for senior citizens. Anyone over 18 is welcome to take advantage of six free health screenings worth a total of more than $140: cholesterol, blood pressure, bone density, blood glucose, waist circumference and body composition/body mass index. Certified medical technicians conduct the screenings on a customized, traveling education and health-screening bus. No appointments and no health insurance are needed.

Learn more at Walgreen’s Web site.

Flu scare got you worried about the upcoming flu season? Well, if you’re jobless, you’re out of luck in one way and in luck in another way. CVS and Walgreens are making more than 100,000 free flu shots available to jobless persons free, through government-run career centers, beginning in October. You should act quickly, more people than you realize are jobless! Check CVS’s Web site for more, or call your local “government-run career center” (the unemployment office, maybe?). If you’re gainfully employed, you can get a flu shot at a Walgreens near you for $24.99, 7 days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mollen Immunization Clinics are also making stops throughout the country in the month of October. Visit, enter your zip code and learn when they will be in your area, probably at a WalMart store. Shots cost less than $30. This ounce of prevention would cost you a lot less than the pound of cure and missing a week of work.

Finally, for otherwise healthy young women, one other thing you should be concerned about is an annual cervical cancer screening. Programs funded by the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offer free or low-cost Pap tests to women in need (don’t be embarrassed – that describes a lot of young single women just starting out). These and other programs are available throughout the United States. To find a program near you, visit the NBCCEDP Web site at or call 800.232.4636. Also, your state or local health department can direct you to places that offer free or low-cost Pap tests.

Finally, if having no health insurance is robbing you of a good night’s sleep, check out Samaritan Ministries. It’s not a $30 co-pay plan, but it’s an affordable measure of assurance that one bad accident won’t wipe out all you’ve worked hard to save. And I love it because instead of paying premiums to a company that will profit handsomely, members pay other members’ actual medical bills. The entire operation offers a sense of Christian camaraderie around the issue of healthcare.

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