According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, Americans spend more time researching car purchases and new appliances than they do choosing doctors and health plans.
Part of the purpose of “National Wise Health Care Consumer Month” is to inform and empower people about making smart choices when it comes to their health care.
Premier Medical Group offers the following tips for being a wise health care consumer:
- Take your time in selecting a doctor.
- Prepare for doctor visits in advance by writing down your questions and concerns.
- Get regular physical exams. The single best way to keep medical costs down is to detect health issues early—when they are generally less complicated to treat.
- Be your doctor’s partner. Give your doctor complete and accurate information about your health, including any medications you may be taking. Ask questions if you do not understand something. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Do not ignore symptoms. When you don’t feel quite right, your body may be giving you signals that something more serious is going on. If you have tried treating the symptoms on your own but are not improving, you may need medical attention.
- Understand your medication. When your doctor prescribes a medication, make sure he or she knows what else you take—including prescription and non-prescription medications, herbal supplements, and home remedies. Know what the prescription is for and what side effects may occur.
- Use generic drugs when appropriate. When your doctor prescribes a medication, ask whether a generic version is available and whether your doctor thinks a generic version is appropriate to treat your condition.
- Know your health insurance plan inside and out.
- Don’t forget to take care of your mental health just as you would your physical health.
- Keep a list of all of your physicians and medications handy.