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Ten tips for medical self-defense

Partners' Network Blog

Ten tips for medical self-defense

  1. Keep a log of your medical visits and compare against the bills you receive. Even though you might not be paying that bill, incorrect billing will accumulate and impact your deductible or other types of coverage.
  2. Make sure you understand everything on your bill.
  3. Get complete copies of all your medical records from all your physicians and provide them to every doctor you receive care from.
  4. Make sure every doctor you meet with has authorization to receive your records from other physicians you have met with or are being treated by.
  5. Find out what preventative care you should engage in…and do it! Exercise, drinking water, not eating added sugar or salt, eating smaller portions and not smoking are all no brainers. Find out what else you can do.
  6. Try to get as much done with every doctor visit to eliminate multiple visits. Find out before the appointment what the purpose of the visit is, what the follow up treatments or visits will be, and what tests and procedures are necessary and whether they can be, or should be, done before the visit.
  7. Have each physician look at your tests and procedure history and results and make sure there is no duplication – which can be a bother, costly and time consuming.
  8. Ask every insurance provider for a reason why payment was denied for a particular service and then ask the physician why it was ordered and whether they were aware that it wasn’t covered. Some tests that are only permitted once a year, or every five years can be routinely denied by the provider without ascertaining that these were the “one time” in that cycle. The next time these are scheduled have the physician indicate the cycle on their order or bill.
  9. Be an advocate for your care. Make sure you understand everything being done on your behalf and on and to you.
  10. Use one pharmacist and ask them to look at all your medications and make sure they do not negatively interact with or negate each other, whether they can be taken in other ways and if the dosage is appropriate. If necessary have them contact your physician.

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