Attending regular check-ups and having honest conversations with your physician are just the start of preventing disease and enjoying good health. Since your health is something you carry with you for life, and is something you influence each and every day through your choices, your own education might actually be the most important component of good health over the course of your lifetime.
The American Institute for Preventive Medicine has designated February as Wise Health Care Consumer Month. The idea is to teach consumers how to make smart choices for their health, not only to prevent disease but to manage out-of-pocket spending on healthcare. Here are some tips to help you become a more wise healthcare consumer.
- You select your doctor … You don’t have to go with the doctor closest to home, or the first one you speak to, or the one who is recommended by someone else. Choose a doctor based on research and your own personal comfort with them.
- Go for regular screenings and check-ups. The best time to treat a condition is early, when it can first be detected.
- Write down questions and concerns before doctor visits, and take this list with you.
- View yourself as your doctor’s partner in protecting your health. Talk honestly, ask questions, share your lifestyle habits and all medications and supplements that you’re taking.
- Never ignore symptoms. Even something mild should be communicated to your doctor.
- Ask questions and educate yourself about prescription medications. You deserve to know the ingredients of anything you take orally or that is injected into you. Ask about possible reactions and side effects so that you know about potential warning signs.
- Ask about generic drugs. In almost all cases, these work just as well as name-brand prescriptions, and can save you money.
- Take care of your mental health just as well as you do your physical health.
- Make a list of your doctors, their contact information, and all medications you’re taking. Keep this list with you in case of emergency.
- Seek to understand your healthcare plan, so that you know what to expect.
Of course, you can always contact us if you have questions about your healthcare plan. We can help you understand your coverage and any limitations, so that you can make informed decisions about your healthcare.