Reduced Cost Health Services Offered To the Ohio Valley by Many Sources



Staff Writer

WEST LIBERTY — With the a consistent rise in health insurance, immunizations and dental care, keeping up with your well-being can seem difficult, but not with the abundance of options in the Ohio Valley.

Howard Long Wellness Center offers a multitude of reduced-cost health screenings including cholesterol screenings, which are available to the public at a fee for non-members. No appointment is necessary for cholesterol screenings, which are offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month.

Blood pressure screenings also are open at Howard Long every Monday from 12:30-2:30 p.m., which also is available to the public. If you are looking to take better care of your teeth on a tight budget, West Liberty University offers the Sarah Whitaker Glass School of Dental Hygiene facility, which boasts low-cost options for dental cleanings, X-rays, fluoride treatments and sealant applications.

Services range from $5 to $15 depending on if you are a member of the West Liberty University community and if its is available to the general public. The university asks patients to keep in mind that students use these services to further their education, resulting in extended visits that last up to three hours.

Students are under the supervision of qualified and experienced professionals and utilize digital X-ray imaging, 24 dental operatories and Dentrix dental practice management software.

“Both the community and the students benefit from the services provided at WLU. The students benefit by treating a variety of patients, and the patients can receive care at a reduced rate,” said Dental Hygiene Program Director Stephanie Meredith.

According to Meredith, patients often utilize the university for the preventive services offered in addition to having a personal dentist. “We advise that you always follow up with your dentist and we can send any information obtained here directly to your doctor,” said Meredith.

While some lack dental insurance, this is a good option for those trying to refrain from future cavities at a low cost.

As for women’s needs, women without health insurance can obtain birth control at a reduced cost at a multitude of facilities. WalMart Super Center offers 12 different types of oral contraceptives at a cost of $9 or $24, depending on the prescription. Wheeling Health Right also offers family planning counseling and medication.

Reduced-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings also are offered at Wheeling Health Right in addition to services for those with mental illnesses and health education. The Ohio County Health Department offers immunization clinics and a multitude of testing for HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and Narcan training.

Administrator of the Ohio County Health Department Howard Gamble believes county facilities offer endless options for community members.

“Most of our local county health departments in the area offer several low-cost or no-cost health services. These services are preventive based and can vary from immunizations for children to treatment of communicable diseases,” Gamble said.

Health insurance options are not as limited as they may appear, either. Insurance packages may range greatly in price depending on your health, dependents and income. Some alternatives to the standard health insurance options are short-term health insurance or health care sharing.

Short-term health insurance offers a three-month duration of coverage, which is renewable after each quarter of your enrollment. If you do decide to renew your enrollment plan, the three-month coverage may change due to the fact that all applicants are considered new customers no matter how many times they have applied or have been accepted in the past.

Health care sharing is not regulated by state departments of insurance, so it is not taxed nor is it considered actual insurance.

Those who utilize this program must do so through a church or religious organization, however.

These programs are provided by faith-based communities to share health care costs without the struggle of paying month-to-month health care expenses. Some facilities that may assist with creating a plan include Medical Cost Sharing, Christian Health Care Ministries and Samaritan Ministries.

As economic problems take a toll on many community members, there are options for health care that won’t cost you week’s worth of groceries or your entire paycheck in the Ohio Valley.