Retail health solutions

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The free market economy can be relied on to come up with a solution to most problems. In the case of healthcare, the major box stores like Wal Mart and Target, and drugstores like CVS and Walgreen’s have come up with alternatives for people without health insurance (young people often don’t have it but as they are almost always healthier than older people they don’t have as great a need for it) or issues that are cheaper to deal with in a direct transaction than paying a high copay. Generic prescriptions can be filled for $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for 90 days at Target and Wal Mart. Birth control pills are available for $9. A  physical for a child can go as low as $29 at Target, and $39 at CVs’s MinuteClinic. (The usual price is $59 but in the Spring months they compete for this business.) Blood, cholesterol and other screening tests are available (not in Massachusetts, naturally — and it varies in some states) for under a $100. Vaccinations are also available at competitive prices.

WalMart and Costco operate eye services with an independent eye doctor in house, right next to their cut price frames and contact lenses. WalMart runs a special deal every September when they heavily discount a year’s worth of contact lenses and often throw in a free pair of eyeglasses. All of the stores take health insurance but if you don’t have the right sort, their prices are as low as you can go.

There is a huge network of free health clinics stretching across the country. freeclinics.us or freemedicalcamps.com can direct you to one near you.