Health insurance can help you get access to many services to help you maintain your health. There are important details to know about your health insurance and how to use it.
TIPS FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH A PROVIDER
Before you make an appointment, you should have your insurance card with you and know when you are available to visit your doctor.
When you call to make an appointment, let them know whether you are a new patient or if you have been there before.
Let them know if you are making the appointment for a specific issue, like the flu or asthma, or a yearly checkup. If you are a new patient, give them your health insurance information and ask them how much you will have to pay for your visit.
In case you have to reschedule your appointment, ask about the office’s cancelation policy since some offices will charge you if you do not cancel early enough.
There are several things that you may need to bring with you to your appointment:
- Bring your insurance card. This lets the doctor’s office bill your insurance.
- Bring money or a credit card for the appointment if there is a co-payment.
- Know your family health history. For example, does anyone in your family have cancer or heart disease?
- Bring a list of any medicines you take.
- Bring a list of any questions you have.
- Bring someone to help and support you if you need it.
Doctors know a lot, but they do not always know everything about you or what is best for you. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, and safety. Ask questions to make sure you understand what your doctor wants you to do. Ask for a printed version of your instructions from your doctor (summary of visit) so you can remember exactly what they have asked you to do. Here are example questions you can ask your doctor:
If the doctor orders a test for you:
- What is the test for?
- When will I get the results?
If the doctor suggests that you should have an operation or procedure done:
- Why do I need this treatment?
- How many times have you done this operation or procedure?
- What are the possible complications?
If the doctor gives you a prescription:
- Are there any alternatives that work best for a lower cost?
- Can you write down the name of the drug for me?
- Are there any side effects?
- Will this medicine interact with medicines that I am already taking?
If your doctor asked you to schedule a follow up appointment with him/her or another doctor, be sure to make the appointment. If your doctor gives you a prescription, make sure you bring the prescription to a nearby pharmacy to fill the prescription. Make sure to use the prescription exactly like the doctor told you to.
If you have any questions about your prescription, you can ask the pharmacist to explain it to you. You can also call your doctor’s office if you have further questions.
Once your appointment is over, your insurance company should send you a form called “Explanation of Benefits”. This describes what you went to see the doctor for, how much the doctor charged the insurance company for your visit, and how much the insurance company will pay.
If you receive something in the mail related to your health insurance and you do not know what it is, go to an enrollment assister.