Tips for Being a Wise Health Consumer
February is National Wise Health Consumer Month. From the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, here are 10 tips for being a wise health care consumer:
- Take the time to carefully select a doctor or health care provider. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations. Investigate whether or not the doctor participates in your health insurance plan.
- Prepare for visits to your health care provider by compiling lists of questions or concerns you wish to discuss during your appointment. By making the most of the time you have, you can avoid unnecessary calls and repeat visits.
- Ask questions about medications you are prescribed. Understand why you are taking it and how it should be taken. Finish all medications, even if you are feeling better.
- Keep a checklist of all medications you are taking and share this list with your health care provider. This is especially important if you are seeing more than one doctor.
- Be aware of routine medical tests and examinations and the recommended times to have them. You may be able to avoid unnecessary and expensive tests.
- Keep a well-stocked pharmacy with commonly used medicinal items. This can help you deal with common problems and save costly trips to the doctor or emergency department.
- Understand you health insurance plan. A list of basic questions about what is covered and knowing the answers to these questions can save time and money.
- Take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. States of emotional upset can interfere with daily living routines, and can ultimately affect your physical well-being.
- Keep a list of health agencies handy as a reference. Most are available by phone, fax or e-mail and can serve as a resource for free information and support.