Hello, dear readers! We have a guest blog post this month, all about how to advocate for your own healthcare. This is a subject that is dear to my heart, as many of you know…I’d like to thank Justin Bennett for this wonderful article!
Advocate for Your Own Healthcare
By Justin Bennett, November 2022
Healthcare is a rapidly changing field, with new technologies and innovations coming out every day. As a result, it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes, especially if you’re not in the know.
As an advocate for your own healthcare, you should know what treatment options are available for you, what medical conditions you have, the best treatment centers that would be suitable for your needs, etc. And you should know your rights for yourself and your family members. So here are some facts and tips to help you be a better healthcare advocate.
It is not always easy to understand what your health insurance covers and how it works. There are several different options. but the most common are:
An HMO. It delivers all health services through a network of healthcare providers and facilities but allows little freedom to choose your healthcare providers. A PPOgives you a moderate amount of freedom to choose your healthcare providers, and you don’t need a referral for specialists, but you do have higher out-of-pocket costs.
Medicareis a program for people aged 65 years or older and people with certain disabilities. Medicaidis a public health insurance program for some individuals and families with a low income or disabilities.
In the US, The Affordable Care Act is a federal law that was designed to reduce the cost of health insurance coverage for people who qualify for it. If you’re self-employed, this could be your best health insurance option, but you can also look into getting insurance through Medicaid or the Freelancers Union.
Track and Manage Your Medical Records
Keeping track of medical records can be difficult if your records are in multiple places or formats. This becomes even harder when working with several doctors to address several health concerns. Today, many apps and online services exist to make the job of organizing this information easier.
You have a federally guaranteed right to get a copy of your medical records from most healthcare providers, including doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as from your insurance carrier. And you have a right to ask your plan or insurance provider to give you this information electronically.
Getting a Second Opinion
It’s absolutely impossible for doctors to know everything there is to know about all diseases, and they cannot possibly treat everyone who walks into their office.
The Mayo Clinic reported that only 12% of their second opinion patients left with a confirmation that the original diagnosis was accurate, meaning that nearly 90% of patients left with a different or refined diagnosis.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a very serious condition or you don’t feel comfortable with your diagnosis, it’s not only okay to get a second opinion, it’s essential.
Making Your Health Your Top Priority
Maintaining and improving your health starts with you. Getting advice from a registered dietician/nutritionist means they can customize your diet based on individual factors, including your age, your current diet, and any medical conditions you have. More often than not, a registered dietician has better information than your medical professional in this area.
On a physical level, yoga can help to improve flexibility, balance, and strength. It can also help to relieve stress and reduce joint pain. But perhaps even more important than the physical benefits of yoga is its ability to promote mental well-being. Melanie Deal hosts classes focused on the therapeutic aspects of yoga to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and more.
But of course, there are things you should be doing that you don’t need a professional for. You can start today by drinking more water and choosing healthier snacks like an apple or a handful of nuts when hunger strikes. Start moving around more by taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around the block at lunchtime, or park further away when you’re in a parking lot. Also, taking a daily walk around your neighborhood can improve your physical and mental health.
When You Feel Unseen
Many people feel marginalized by the healthcare system and need to advocate for their own needs even more strenuously. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn. Staying in touch with a community of people who are walking your path can help you to find resources and keep you informed.
Doing the Work Pays Off
Understanding your insurance options, keeping track of your own medical records, getting a second opinion, taking charge of your health, and staying informed about issues that relate to your specific needs can ensure you get the care you need and deserve.
For more information, or to contact Justin, go to healthyfit.info.