Welcome to Manage Your Health
Maintaining your health is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. One aspect to maintaining your help is regularly seeing a healthcare professional for preventative visits, as well for treatment for illnesses or injuries when needed. Manage Your Health has tips on finding doctors, advice on where to go when your doctor isn't available, and information on sites that can offer doctor reviews and ratings.
Tips for Finding a Doctor If You Have Insurance
There are times in your life when you may need to find a new doctor. You may want to keep the doctor that you have forever but this might not be possible. In these situations you will certainly want to know what you should be doing to help you find a new doctor that can give you all of the services that you expect from a health care professional. If you have never looked for a doctor before you will want to keep a few simple tips in your mind. It will definitely help you find the best professional.
First off, it will always be a good idea to make sure that you are spending a little bit of time researching the doctor and his or her background. While you may not want to really think about asking the doctor personal questions, you must be willing to do this. Either you need to speak with them and find out what their education is as well as any disciplinary actions, or you will want to spend time researching professional boards to ensure that the doctor has not been given any disciplinary actions. Of course you will want to know the answer to this question before you decide if you will work with a certain doctor or not.
Next, always try to find out what their office routine is like. You want to know if they leave their patients waiting in the office for long periods of time. Can you expect them to call you if the doctor is running behind so that you do not leave work to sit in the waiting room? Does the doctor only see patients on certain days of the week? If so, what days? You want to make sure that these are days that you can miss work or be out of the office for appointments. Any doctor or professional should be comfortable giving you this information and if you find out that they are not then you are going to want to find another doctor.
Third, it will be most important to verify that the visits you have with your new doctor are going to be covered by your insurance policy. Most individuals are well aware of the fact that not all doctors are going to accept all types of insurance. Therefore, as you are searching for a new doctor you will want to consult with your health insurance company to see just who they will accept and who they do not. It is often possible to look at a provider handbook online and in many cases you will even receive one in the mail.
Fourth, consider who the doctor will be treating. There are a lot of times when people will not consider this but it is very important when you think about why. If you have a child you are going to want to make sure that the office is open at peak times. You never know when you will need the doctor and you want to make sure that you are going to be able to get in touch with him or her if you need to. With that being said, you may want to find a doctor that has evening hours or that will be open on the weekends. Believe it or not, there are a lot of pediatricians that will do this. That is why you should consider the ages of the patients.
Fifth, think about the parking that the doctor's office is going to have. Again, this is not something that many individuals will take into consideration when they are trying to find a doctor. It is always a good idea to make sure that you are asking about this. Do they have a parking lot that is reserved for patients? Do you have to park on the street and pay a meter? Will they have someone to help you if you are handicapped? You will want the answers to these questions if you are in a wheelchair or you have children that you need to carry to and from the car.
Do you like a certain hospital in the area? This is certainly something else that you must think about. You will find that not all doctors will be affiliated with all hospitals. In many cases if you are seeing a doctor that is referring you for other services they are going to make that referral to the hospital that they are affiliated with. That is often the rule and it is the way that it works. If you do not like a certain hospital then you are not going to want to be seen by a doctor that is affiliated with that hospital.
Finally, find out what others are saying about the doctor and the services that they offer. You will be able to make some very important decisions when you learn what others have to say about a certain doctor. It is possible to get reviews online as well by talking to friends and family members. They will be more than happy to tell you what they really think about a certain doctor. Then it will be easier for you to determine who you would like to deal with.
In the end, you are the only person that can determine if you will like a certain doctor or not. With that being said, you may want to try to interview a certain doctor and find out if you will like them or not. Even if you have heard that one doctor is very nice, you may meet with him or her and determine that you do not like them. The same is true if you have heard bad things about a certain doctor. Therefore, find out if you will be able to meet with the doctor and his or her staff before you make any final decisions. If nothing else maybe the staff will be able to answer some of your questions.
Finding a Doctor If You Don't Have Insurance
Even if you do not have health insurance you will still need to see a doctor at one time or another. This can be very stressful when you think about it because you will end up paying a great deal of money from your own pocket. If you do not have the money to see the doctor on hand then you could be faced with a number of bills that simply keep adding up. So, you are going to want to know exactly what you should be doing to help you find the best doctor when you do not have any insurance.
As previously mentioned, pay is always an issue. So, if you need to find a doctor and you do not have any health insurance you will want to try to find a doctor that is going to allow you the opportunity to make monthly payments. Often, if they are affiliated with a hospital, you may need to set up a payment plan with the billing department. However, if this doctor is in private practice you will want to find out if they will be able to put you on a budget or not.
Always try to utilize the resources that you have in your community. Now, you might not realize it but your local health department may have doctors on hand. These doctors may be in the office on certain days of the week. If you call and ask someone they may be able to tell you when the doctor will be there and if they can get you in for an appointment. Many times you will be given a discount for using this service and it can be a lot cheaper than dealing with a doctor's office.
Have you considered using walk in clinics? These are certainly becoming more and more common and they are relatively inexpensive. They can be a great option when you are dealing with minor illnesses such as diarrhea, sore throats or even pink eye. There are times when you will see that some of these doctors will even be able to carry out physicals for sports or for schooling. Each service will cost a certain amount of money and you will be able to pay out your own pocket for these services.
Another option that you will have if you do not have health insurance would be to apply for Medicaid. If you are without insurance because you are unemployed then it may be possible for you to qualify for these services. This is based on income and you will find that they can cover anything from eye care services to hospice services. It is worth looking into if you do not have any insurance at all.
Next, think about joining a discount club. Many of these clubs will brag that they can offer you health insurance up to 60% off of what others are paying. It may also be possible for you to save money on prescriptions when you use these types of clubs. If you are thinking about using one of these clubs then you should always do your best to research them and also check them out with the better business bureau before you make any decisions.
Think about calling your local hospital or clinic. You may find that there are a lot of them that will provide free clinics and services one time a month or every few months. So, if you have a medical condition that needs to be monitored this may be the way to go if you do not have health insurance. All you have to do is make that phone call. It is not complicated at all.
Many people are now using urgent care clinics to get the assistance that they need when they do not have health insurance. They are able to be seen without an appointment and they can get prescriptions for any complications that they may have. Many of these locations are now offering plans that individuals can pay for. For a set price each month the family can receive certain services. If you do not want to participate in these types of services then you can often pay per visit with a credit card if you do not have insurance.
If you had insurance through your employer but now you are uninsured you will find that you can still continue to receive medical coverage from your old employer through a service called COBRA. You will still need to pay your premiums while you are receiving this coverage and you can do so for up to 18 months. While this could become expensive for you it is good to know that you will at least have this option if you have been fired by your employer and you no longer have a job.
CHAMPVA is a healthcare option that you may have if you are a veteran or you are an active soldier. You will find that if you take part in this program you will be able to receive medical treatment at different VA clinics. While this might not be something that you are interested in doing, you should know that if you decide to go about getting insurance in this manner you will not have to pay the 20% copay that you may be facing at the office of a primary care doctor.
Always ask if you can receive a discount on your bill if you pay up front when you go the doctor's office. Yes, many of them are going to be able to bill you for the services that they have provided you but you will see that more and more of them are offering huge discounts if you pay your bill with cash the day that you are seen. This might not be posted on the door or anywhere in the office that is why you need to ask someone. You never know what you may be able to save if you just ask.