How to prepare for your next doctor visit

How can you make the most of your doctor visit? It’s a common health care question. In today’s society of overloaded schedules, time is increasingly rare. In fact, the typical length of a doctor appointment is less than 15 minutes. Whether for an illness or an annual check-up, it’s important to make the most of face-to-face visits to ensure you receive the best care your doctor can give.

Before you even step in the waiting room, consider these steps you can take to maximize your next doctor visit.

Make Sure You’re Covered

You can save time at the doctor’s office by eliminating the overview of fees, which is when the office’s administrator reviews the bill for any costs you may be responsible to pay. Verify in advance what you will owe and how these costs will be covered.

  • If you have health insurance, confirm what is covered by your provider prior to your appointment.  Often, co-pay is due at the time of visit. Also check that you have a current copy of your insurance card.
  • There is also a process called predetermination, in which your health insurance provider reviews services to verify the coverage and out-of-pocket expenses before they are incurred. This is an advisable route to consider if you previously received a questionable claim from a provider.
  • If you do not have health insurance, call your doctor’s office to check what you will owe for the visit and how the billing process works. Many health care providers are open to payment plans or other options.

Make Lists, Check Them Twice

Precious appointment time is often spent giving the doctor a status update on your health, and it can be hard to remember all of the details. Save time and stay accurate by creating a few lists in advance of your appointment including:

  • Current medications and dosing schedules. Be sure to include both prescription and non-prescription medications so your doctor does not prescribe a conflicting antidote. You can learn more about smart medication use by reviewing the Medication Safety Guide on the BCBSM website.
  • Current symptoms. If you are sick, it’s helpful to have a record of your ailments and when you experienced them; these can be easily forgotten if they subside during your visit.
  • Prior and current medical conditions. An overview of your health history will help your doctor make a better diagnosis by bringing to light possible connections between past and present symptoms.

Bring a Buddy

This is especially important if you are sick. When you feel miserable, it’s easy to lose focus and miss important details about your diagnosis and treatment. Having a trusted friend or family member along will ensure no aspect of your care is overlooked. They can also provide support if you receive upsetting news.

Have other health questions for a Health Plan Advisor? Ask a question, see answers and learn more about health insurance on Health Insurance Central.

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