Not all health insurance plans cover well child check-ups and vaccinations. If you are one of those who find themselves facing a hefty out of pocket expense to get your child the care he or she needs, you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to lessen the financial blow of paying for well baby checks and shots out of pocket.
The Easiest Way to Get Affordable Well Child Check-Ups and Vaccinations
Getting your child well baby checks and vaccines on schedule when these services are not covered by your health insurance plan can be a struggle. A single exam with vaccinations can cost you hundreds of dollars out of pocket, and need to be repeated in a few short weeks! If this describes your current situation, you’ll be pleased to learn that you do have affordable options.
1. Your local health department most likely offers well baby checks and vaccinations. Call ahead to check if these services are available and see if you need to make an appointment or if they have walk in clinic times available. Your child’s information will still be entered into the state system so your pediatrician can track the results, and your baby will get the same vaccines as he or she would get from the doctor’s office.
The well baby check-up will be performed by a nurse or nurse practitioner who has been trained to spot abnormalities in a child’s development. Plus, these nurses often have years of experience at putting your child at ease when getting shots and having a stranger examine their body. You won’t be able to discuss your child’s last bout of colic or how to administer prescribed medicine, but the nurse will talk about your child’s eating and sleeping habits, as well as any other health concerns you have.
She will refer back to your pediatrician for any health concerns and problems with prescription medications. Essentially, you’ll receive quality care and cheaper services from your local health department when compared to your doctor’s office. Fees are generally billed on a sliding scale format, based on your household income. In addition, a well child check-up and vaccinations are less expensive from the health department in comparison to the same services from a physician’s office.
2. Talk with your preferred health care provider. Being honest about your lack of coverage for well child check-ups and vaccinations is usually the best policy. Your physician may have access to information about local resources that can help you get these services at a lower cost. Also, many pediatricians will agree to discount well child check-ups and vaccinations if you absolutely want the services done in their office, but don’t have insurance coverage to help out with the cost.
Depending on the doctor, the discounts can range from a few dollars to a deep price cut. If your doctor doesn’t offer discounts for services not covered by your health insurance, you can ask about a payment plan. Your pediatrician may agree to accept as little as $20 a month toward your outstanding balance.
However, it’s important to remember that falling behind on these payments can have a disastrous effect. Your pediatrician can decline to see your child for further services for lack of payment, and you’ll find yourself searching for a new pediatrician. In addition, your previous pediatrician will likely charge you a hefty fee for copying and transferring your child’s medical records to the new doctor’s office.
3. Save your receipts. Saving your receipts from your out of pocket expenses for your child’s well baby checks and shots can save you money every spring. In fact, save receipts for all of your out of pocket expenses related to healthcare. These expenses can be used as a tax write off at the end of the year. While you may have to pay for the cost up front, you’ll get your money refunded in the form of a tax refund from the government in the spring.
If your health insurance doesn’t cover well child check-ups and vaccinations, you can still get these services at an affordable rate if you know what options are available to you. Check with your local health department, your pediatrician’s office, and save your receipts for a tax break at the end of the year to help save money on non-covered health care for your child.
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