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How to Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate

Today’s world of healthcare is vast and can be extremely overwhelming. Gone are the days when a doctor’s word was taken as the end-all-be-all answer. With help from the internet, average people are able to research and take charge of their own healthcare and treatment. While we continue to rely heavily on the knowledge and expertise of our healthcare practitioners, it is more important than ever to be your own or your loved one’s healthcare advocate. Here are 5 useful tips to taking charge of your health care and being your own advocate:

Understand YOUR Health Insurance: Do you have Medicare or Medicaid? HMO or PPO? Your insurance dictates more than just what copay you pay at the doctor’s office. It will also dictate what treatments, screenings, and tests you are able to receive, how often you can receive them, and what additional out-of-pocket expenses you may be responsible for. A solid knowledge of your health insurance benefits can not only help protect you against large medical bills but can also help you best navigate your care and supplement your treatment if necessary.

Ask Questions: Whether you’re coming in for a routine medical exam or have made a doctor’s appointment to address a specific medical concern, you should always come prepared with a list of questions to ask your doctor. There is such a short window of time to spend with your practitioner that it’s in both their interest and yours. Physicians can miss underlying issues if they are not looking for something specific. No one knows your body the way that you do, so if you have concerns or questions speak up!

Utilize Preventative Care: The best medicine is prevention! Keeping on top of your health is key to early detection of disease or possibly keeping it away altogether. If their insurance plan is compliant with the Affordable Care Act, most Americans can receive at least 15 different yearly preventative screenings for free. There are additional free screenings available for women, children, and older Americans too. There is no excuse for not taking charge of your health.

Maintain Your Own Records: While most healthcare institutions are working toward incorporating a universal health records system, it is still important for you to keep your own records. This is one of the best ways to stay on top of your own personal health care, especially if it involves working between multiple different specialists. Having a solid understanding of your medical history and care plan will not only help quickly correct errors in record keeping but also in health insurance billing.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek a Second Opinion: Just as you may have a particular way of doing things at your job, your co-workers might have a different approach to the same situation. Healthcare practitioners are not exempt from this. It doesn’t mean that one way is wrong and the other is right but it may mean that one approach to care might work better for you or your family. If you don’t like an answer or care plan it’s ok to seek another opinion. When your health is at stake it’s best to be thorough, your life is worth it!


 

To achieve the best possible outcome when it comes to healthcare and medicine it is always beneficial to be your own advocate as well as have someone else there to support you. If you or a loved one are in need of additional support to maintain their health and well-being our knowledgeable and caring staff at PRN Home Healthcare would like to help. Call or click today to schedule your FREE in-home care consultation.

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