Thursday, January 6, 2011

Health Care Freebies

It goes without saying: healthcare is expensive. Even with insurance, a $40 or so copay can deter many of us from getting the help we need to stay healthy. Luckily, there ARE ways to get health care for free. Not complete health care, of course, but anything you can do to stay healthy will save you money down the road, because getting sick and needing medication is expensive. If you're uninsured, getting sick can be terrifying. But there are ways to get stay healthy for free! Here are some of the free health care benefits you can receive as a college student.

At many campuses, the health center is a wonderful place full of free stuff that you may not have known about. The health center may frequently offer such goodies as free flue shots, free HIV screenings, free counseling appointments, free smoking cessation, free nutritional consultation, and free condoms. In addition to providing these services for free whenever possible, the health center is in contact with hospitals and health care facilities in the area who may also be offering these services for free. To find out what your health center offers, check out it's website and surf around, sign up for the newsletter if it's offered, or drop by/call and ask what free services are offered. You can save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of free preventative health care. (Also note: quitting smoking can save you SO. MUCH. MONEY. And smoking cessation help is free at most of the campuses I researched!)

Many campuses also have a gym on campus that is free for students to use. Don't take these for granted - as soon as you graduate, gyms are going to cost you an average of $50 per month!! Campus gyms are good places to keep yourself healthy - remember that exercise boosts your immune system and staying in shape provides numerous health benefits, everything from lowering your risk of heart disease to assisting with the symptoms of depression! Taking advantage of the free gym on campus is a great way to utilize the freebies available to college students.

I've researched a few places to get you started on health care freebies. If your location isn't on here, try googling your campus health center and searching for "Free," googling "free flu shots in [my area]" or "free HIV screenings in [my area]" etc. Or email me and I can try to look around for you.

Health Care Freebies

At Indiana University, there are loads of freebies!
1. Free condoms on the third floor of the Health Center (women's clinic). They are in a basket on the counter. Babies are expensive, and so are condoms, so free condoms are where it's at!
2. Two FREE counseling sessions per semester. That's 4 sessions per year to talk to professionals about anything under the sun you want advice or help with! They also offer unlimited FREE sexual crisis counseling sessions. That means even if you come in every single week for the entire year to get help with ANY sexual crisis issues (such as rape, sexual assault, post traumatic stress disorder, etc), it's still completely, 100% FREE. Call 812 855-5711 to schedule appointments.
3. FREE smoking cessation consultations are available to assist students in stopping smoking and remaining a non-smoker. Call for an appointment (812) 855-7338.
4. FREE birth control consultations for persons wanting to begin a birth control method, to change methods or to persons who want to become informed about the available methods. Call for an individual appointment. (812) 855-7338.
5. Health education programs are FREE and can be scheduled at a convenient time and place for a group. Call (812) 855-7338 to request a program topic or to obtain more information about Health and Wellness Education outreach programming.
6. First appointment with a nutritionist is FREE at the Health Center.
7. FREE Gardasil shots are available through the Indiana State Department of Health! This is amazing because the Gardasil vaccine, which prevents the HPV strand that turns into cervical cancer, is usually upwards of $360. More information is available >here.
8. At the Student Recreational Sports Center, (SRSC) not only is admission to the $22.5 million state of the art facility FREE with your student ID, but you also get FREE two hour parking at the SRSC lot! (free parking is hard to come by on campus, so this is great!) My favorite thing at the SRSC is the free group fitness classes. They are incredible and are offered all week long several times per day to fit into your schedule. If you've never worked out in your life or hate working out, start here. They are a fun, free way to stay healthy! See the schedule here. Remember, this will cost $50/month when you graduate!
9. More freebies include UNLIMITED ACCESS to all the Campus Recreational Sports facilities and programs including: Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building (HPER); Woodlawn Field; Woodlawn Tennis Courts; Student Recreational Sports Center (SRSC); North Jordan Tennis Courts; North Fee Lane Fields.

At University of Louisville:
1. FREE Cold and Flu Self-Care Kits available at Campus Health Services, Residence Halls and Commuter Services. Kits include personal thermometer, tissues, salt for gargling, saline spray, aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or Ibuprofen.
2. Students have access to FREE personal nutrition counseling and other health education and self-management support from Karen Newton, MPH, RD, at the Belknap Campus Health Services office. Students may get a referral from a Campus Health Services provider OR make an appointment by calling 852-6479. Read more here.
3. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and prescription medicine for students who qualify medically will be provided by UofL FREE for up to 90 days of use. This option is available to currently enrolled UofL students who participate in a UofL sponsored or approved cessation program from January 1, 2010 through May 2011.
4. Yoga in Miller Hall FREE -Tues/Thurs February 1st - March 10- to all students who live in residence halls. All levels of experience are welcome at all classes. Bring a yoga mat or large towel and a blanket.

At Purdue:
1. Purdue Student Health Center has a program in place called Patient Assistance. This program may be able to help students pay for prescription medications or may be able to provide them FREE of charge. Read More Here.
2. Purdue offers FREE counseling and psycological services to students. Read about the services offered here!
3. The Student Wellness Office offers free nutrition counseling to Purdue students. Read more here. To schedule an appointment, call the Student Wellness Office at 765-494-WELL (9355).
4. FREE smoking cessation packs called X-Packs are available to students! The free X-pack includes one or more brief counseling sessions with a quit leader. The X-pack program can help you find the next steps to quit successfully! Available in the Purdue Pharmacy (RHPH 118), or contact the Student Wellness Office at (765) 494-9355.
5. FREE condoms are available at the Student Wellness Office in PUSH 201. Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Simply visit our office and pick up a pack from the front desk. You do not have to request them and we do not ask for your name or student ID card.
6. Talking to a doctor and having a consultation for a 'illness' visit is FREE of charge at PUSH if you are a full-time student

Free Flu Shots available in St. Louis! Downtown Urgent Care is offering the free vaccines to children (ages 4 through 18) until February 15, while supplies last. Adults can also get a free shot if they bring in a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to kids in need. Otherwise, the cost for adult shots is $24. Downtown Urgent Care is located at 916 Olive Street. For more information, call 314-436-9300.

In North Carolina, FREE flu vaccines are available in Halifax and Northampon counties. For more information, call: • The Halifax County Health Department at 252-583-5021. • The Northampton County Health Department at 252-534-5841. Found here.

Want me to research healthcare freebies on your campus? Have some insider tips? Post a comment!

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