A copay a day keeps the doctor away

    Ginger Rough, writing in the Arizona Republic (Mar 15, 2009), says polls show more than alf of Americans either have or know someone who has put off seeing the doctor--even with insurance.

    Doctors say there are some things you can get away with. For example, women can probably skip a yearly pap test if theirs have always been normal for the past few years and have no family history of cervical cancer.

    If you are in your 30s and at low risk for eye disease, you probably don't need an eye exam more than once or twice a decade. In your 40s or 50s, go every two or three years.

    In the meantime, make sure you are taking generic meds if appropriate. Doctors don't often think about cost--ask! (Those "Free" samples, though--can get you used to a drug with hideous sticker shock potential when you start paying.)

    Some docs will give you a prescription for a larger dose--then you cut the pills in half. Order by mail 3 mos at a time or get your local store's three-month deal You have to ask, "Am I getting the cheapest price for this?"

    Ask if you can get a question answered on the phone or in email. Saves gas, wear, and tear.

    Ask, ask--remember Auntie Star's motto: You can ask anybody anything.

    Never cut your existing prescription in half or skip, though. If you need to quit, ask the doctor first.

    Eat your veggies, walk, and get vaccines for the kids.

    My father was a doc, and he always waited a few days to see if the ailment got better. You don't have to run off to someone except in a breathing or bleeding emergency.

    Use your best judgment. If you are like me, you know if you're being a dope.

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