Much of wasteful healthcare spending in the United States can be attributed to people failing to understand their insurance coverage, their treatment options, and best practices to follow concerning their own personal health. With preventive care being included at no charge in all ACA plans, members should take advantage of their annual checkups by asking for information from their doctors on the treatment options and medications that are right for them.
Below are 10 questions that you can ask during your doctor’s visit that can help reduce out-of-pocket spending while receiving the best available quality of care:
1) What tests (if any) are needed to diagnose my disease or condition? Many healthcare consumers face large out-of-pocket expenses when tests are performed that are either subject to their plan’s deductible and coinsurance, or not covered at all. Before receiving a test, be sure that you understand what the test is and why you need it and refer to your plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) to see how it will be covered.
2) What caused my disease or condition? It is important to understand the factors that may have contributed to your ailment, so you can take steps to remove those variables and prevent sickness or infection from spreading to others.
3) Which hospital is best for my needs? Ask your physician which hospitals in your area would provide the best quality of care in case of a medical emergency and find out which are considered in-network by your insurance coverage.
4) Will this treatment affect my job or lifestyle? Before proceeding with a treatment, be aware of ways in which your lifestyle might be affected. Ask about ways to account for any physical setbacks you might experience throughout your treatment period.
5) Is there anything else that I can do to treat my condition? Ask about alternative treatment options that others with your condition have tried, and what risk factors are involved with those treatments.
6) Tell me more about this drug? Help me spell the name. What are the side effects? Is there an alternative treatment? Is this the generic version? How long will I need to take this drug? Will it cause problems with other medications or herbs or supplements? Many people react to prescription drugs differently, so it is important to understand the full benefits and risks involved with anything that you are prescribed. Many prescription drugs also have side effects when mixed with other substances, so it is important to be aware of how exactly the drug needs to be taken to avoid negative side effects.
7) Is there anything I should avoid during treatment? Ask your doctor if there are any physical activities you should abstain from during your treatment, to avoid any setbacks or major side effects.
8) What should I work on before my next visit? Find out if there are any steps you can take to expedite your healing process, and which conditions are best for your body to get to where it needs to be.
9) What changes should I make in the way I eat or how much I drink? Diet and nutrition are essential parts of a wholesome lifestyle and are critical to overcoming sicknesses and ailments.
10) What are my risk factors for getting cancer or heart disease? Variables involved in the development of major chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease are often introduced into someone’s life long before any symptoms show up. Find out what preventive steps you can take to reduce your risk factor for these diseases through changes to your diet or lifestyle.
While the above questions are just a few examples, it never hurts to ask your doctor as many questions as you can so you can have a full understanding of your personal health and live a long and healthy life.
Account Manager-Group Benefits
Stephen Hernandez is not affiliated with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC.