Guest contribution by Derek Goodman
Health care can be complicated and confusing. You may receive conflicting opinions, perplexing suggestions, and overwhelming amounts of information.
This is why you must learn to be a health advocate for your own health so that you can make the right decisions and get the care you need.
Read on for some tips and tricks to get you started on how to advocate for your own health.
Your first responsibility as your own health advocate is to research. If you have symptoms or if you’ve received a medical diagnosis and treatment plan, then research thoroughly so that you know exactly what to expect. Don’t rely on your medical providers to inform you, although they should certainly be open to answering all your questions. Read about your diagnosis and make your own decisions. You must be active in your healthcare, and this requires knowledge.
Find a Trusted Provider
You should also find a healthcare provider who you can trust. Read reviews online for various providers, and take a close look at their qualifications and specialties. You might also ask friends and relatives for recommendations. When you visit a provider for the first time, take note of the attention you receive, and consider whether the provider is good at explaining things clearly and answering questions. If you’re dissatisfied or uncomfortable, look for another provider. You want someone who can work as your healthcare partner.
Understand the Details
If you have private insurance through your employer, you can still be your own advocate. Remember, the details of health insurance are important. Carefully read over your health insurance policy and make sure you know exactly what it covers and what it doesn’t. Call the company or your insurance agent with questions. Also, check every medical bill to make sure it’s accurate. The explanation of benefits document is more important than the bill, because that will demonstrate how your insurance has paid out their benefits.
Keep Good Records
Keep good records, too. Learn how to read your medical charts, and keep an updated copy of them saved on your computer at all times. I even have a folder of all printed medical records. You could also save a PDF copy on your iPad so that you can access it at any time and especially during medical appointments. If you have multiple documents, you can use this method to add a page. Once you’re done adding all the pages of relevant information, you can save the document as a single PDF so you won’t have to look for many different documents.
Make Healthy Choices
Finally, part of advocating for your health is taking charge of your health and making healthy choices. Examine your diet and make some improvements like cutting back on junk food, eating more fruits and vegetables, and drinking more water. Also, strive for increased physical activity. Even if you feel like regular exercise doesn’t fit into your busy schedule, you can still get moving by taking the stairs rather than the lift, going for walks during breaks, and getting up to stretch and jog in place every hour or so.
Be an Advocate for Yourself
To be your own health advocate, begin by studying, finding a trusted provider, understanding insurance details, keeping good records, and making healthy lifestyle choices. Then you can have confidence that you’re doing your best for your health.
If you’re looking to evaluate your current health plan or in the market for a new health insurance policy, let’s connect to find off-market health plans that suit you.