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Don’t Be A Healthcare Dummy: 15 Ways To Be A Smarter Healthcare Patient

By John Gerstner, Vice President, Insureous Health Solutions

As an agency specializing in health insurance, our clients aren’t shy about venting their frustration and pain about their experiences with the healthcare system. Sometimes it’s about cost. Sometimes it’s about how they were treated. And yes, sometimes we hear praise and thankfulness for the health insurance plans they have, and the saving grace they were shown by their provider.

No matter your past experiences, we all need to continually sharpen our skill as patients. The benefits are both physical and financial. With that in mind, Insureous has compiled this list of 15 good ways to make sure you get the best healthcare possible at the lowest out-of-pocket cost:

Being smarter with your doctor and other providers

  • Stop being passive. Just as in every other facet of life, you get what you allow. Remember the doctor is working for you and you are in charge of your own healthcare. When you meet your doctor, be direct and assertive. Ask questions and politely challenge things that you don’t understand.
  • Come to appointments armed and ready. Write down a list of questions you want to have your physician answer. This will help you better understand your health condition, treatments and prognosis.
  • Know your family history. It’s important to check with family members on any hereditary diseases you might be prone to. This can help your physician assess risk factors and prescribe treatments.
  • Bring a list of photos of your medications. This helps avoid possible duplications and drug interactions. To make this simple, you might photograph all our pill bottles with your smart phone so they’re easy to show.
  • Understand what drugs you are taking. At a minimum you should know what each drug is for, how it should be taken, how long you need to take it and what side effects to look for.
  • Store your medical records. It’s smart to keep copies of your medical records. They’re a great help, and can even be life-saving when you change doctors, go to an emergency room or get sick while traveling. Decide whether you want them as paper in files or as digital copies. GenieMD is a free app for both Android and Apple devices. Other include Apple Health App, MyChart, My Medical and CareZone. All of these allow you to upload imaging reports, lab results, medication lists, immunizations, family medical history and even blood glyucose and blood pressure readings.

Being smarter about using your healthcare dollars

There are dollars to be saved by shopping wisely for your health care.
  • Whenever possible use telemedicine for routine ailments, lost prescriptions or prescription refills. You’ll save all the time required to drive to you appointment and wait to be seen.
  • Use urgent care instead of hospital emergency room. For minor injuries and illnesses, going to urgent care instead of the emergency room can help make sure you get the right care at the right time — and may also save you time and money.
  • Make sure you select and stay in-network for all doctors and hospitals. Avoid ugly surprises. Always check to make sure the doctor or hospital you plan to see is in network BEFORE you go to your appointment. If you’re not sure, Insureous can help.
  • Make sure you get your annual physical (almost always covered by your insurance). Scheduling an annual physical exam offers many advantages. It helps build rappor with your doctor. It allows you to get a reading on vitals and teaches you to look for signs of ailments that can be addressed early. It also helps you discuss and alter lifestyle and dietary choices as necessary.
  • Get preventive health screenings, immunizations and follow-up care. Preventive care helps detect and prevent serious diseases and medical problems before they become major.
  • Know the cost of care ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to shop for the best prices for services you may need within your network. Prices for routine lab services can vary tremendously by location.
  • Audit your medical bills to make sure they are correct. Everyone makes mistakes and doctors’ offices and hospitals are no exception.
  • Stay healthy by regular exercise, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep. You’ll not just feel better; you’ll look better.
  • Don’t skip your dental and eye care checkups. Good dental health impacts cardiovascular disease, upper respirator dieseases, Alzheimer’s and Tyope 2 diabetes. and eye care contributes to good overall health. Good eye care can improve your athletic ability, driving skills, learning and comprehension.

When in doubt remember agents from Insureous Health Solutions are available to help you navigate the healthcare jungle. You can reach us by phone (904-295-8498), email ( or an in-person consultation can be arranged.