There are many of you truck drivers out on the road working day and night, yet you go without health insurance, either because you’re an owner-operator and can’t afford it or your company doesn’t provide it, or for some other reason.
Being without health insurance isn’t just troubling when you have a bad illness, like cancer, it also causes a lot of people to miss out on regular check ups for blood pressure, diabetes, and other things that could be caught early and treated.
It’s important for everyone to get regular check-ups and screenings as are recommended when reaching a certain age. For instance, women are told to start getting mammograms at age 40 to catch any possible breast cancer early. All adults, when they reach age 50, are told to have a colonoscopy to check for colon polyps that can cause cancer if not caught early. Without medical insurance many will avoid these costly tests, but you don’t have to.
Check with your physician. You may be able to see your family physician without insurance and be able to afford it. Approach your doctor about a reduction in rates for services because you are willing to pay cash. Many doctors are happy to work with you because they will likely get more money and get it in a faster time period than when having to deal with insurance or Medicare.
Government run community health care centers are another option. These are not the “free clinics” you might have in your community but there are health care centers regulated and sponsored by the federal government. These centers provide primary, preventative and dental services to people of all ages, based on a sliding payment scale. This means you pay for services based on how much income you make. For information on finding one convenient for you, visit findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.
Planned Parenthood centers are another option. They often receive state funding and public donations, the fees for services may be even lower than normal, but typically you'll be charged what you can afford, based on your income. Women can receive family planning services, plus other treatment and testing for STD's, pap tests, breast exams, and birth control for little or no cost. Be sure to call first to discuss your finances if you do not have insurance. You'll be able to get an estimate for how much it will cost prior to going to your appointment. And it’s not only for women: men are welcome to be sure their reproductive and overall health is on track.
Convenience clinics, those walk-in health centers located in major retail shopping chains such as pharmacies and Walmart, which are typically staffed by nurse practitioners and physician's assistants who can treat and prescribe medications for general colds, flu, and infections. They can also help treat and do preventative check-ups for conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The costs will vary from clinic to clinic and depends on your illness or treatment plan. Some places will offer “a la carte” services and some will charge a “flat-rate fee” for services rendered.
Also, many community groups, civic organizations, and local hospitals will offer regular free clinics for specific screenings of disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and other conditions.
Early detection is the key for many life-threatening diseases.
There’s also something just for truck drivers located in Pilot Travel Centers: Roadside Medical Clinics which currently has three locations that specialize in offering convenient care, wellness programs, and Department of Transportation services. All are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The West Memphis, Ark., clinic is located at 800 Martin Luther King Drive, Ste 3.
Phone: (870) 732-1390
The Cartersville, Ga., location is 970 Cassville-White Road. Phone (770) 382-0201.
And the third clinic is located in Knoxville, Tenn., on 7210 Strawberry Plains Pike. Phone: (865) 329-0016.
The clinics offer the following
• Minor trauma care
• General medical care
• Digestive disorder treatment
• Sleep disorder screening
• Respiratory conditions
• STD testing and treatment
• Chest pain and heart conditions
• Chronic care
• Muscular-skeletal diagnosis and treatment
• Medication management, and
• Head, ear & eye conditions.
No appointment is necessary at these clinics; they offer services on a first come first served basis. Also available from Roadside Medical Clinics are most routine medications.
Taking care of yourself out on the road is difficult, but better to pay whatever it costs now or you’ll pay with your health later when it turns into an even costlier condition or you are unable to renew your CDL and thus may be unable to work at all.
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.