Healthcare in the United States is a contentious issue. It seems there isn’t one congressional session or federal/state election that goes by that there isn’t a discussion on healthcare. It is estimated that the American people dole out more than $3,000 for healthcare expenses every year. In total, the U.S. spends roughly 18 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare costs.
Right now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise commonly known as Obamacare, is headlining news across the country. Whether it’s the negative reports on Obamacare, the numerous website glitches or the White House promoting the healthcare reform law, the ACA is everywhere.
Despite whatever side of the issue you may be on, the fact is that more Americans have to take charge of their own healthcare needs, whether they have insurance or not. By performing due diligence, Americans can get the best bang for their buck and receive high-quality healthcare from their doctors, specialists and hospitals by being more involved.
Here are five important tips to get the most out of your healthcare:
The Right One
Although it has become difficult over the past few years to have one, selecting a primary care doctor is important to your healthcare needs. It is crucial because the doctor will know about your past, your current state of health and provide future care without having to seek the aid of other doctors.
If you don’t have a primary care physician then opt for a walk-in clinic for your medical care needs. If there is one in your vicinity select that one and go there for most of your healthcare needs.
It’s best to never conceal anything from your doctor that might affect your health. Be honest, open and transparent about what you feel, how you feel about a recommended treatment and any family history of a certain disease or illness. By hiding significant information, it may hurt your overall health.
Since Obamacare is composed of a series of mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges to expand coverage and affordability, it’s best to know what your health plan or insurance covers exactly. Relay this information to your doctor or his/her administrative assistants.
In a box, storage container, cabinet or drawer, maintain an extensive health record, such as healthcare benefits, a list of appointments and bills or payment notices from healthcare providers or insurance companies. This way, you will have a lot of documentation in the event of an emergency or mistake.
If you experience constant heartburn, chest pains, headaches or back spasms, consult your doctor about improving your overall lifestyle – aside from further medications. A medical professional can offer a list of changes to your lifestyle to improve your health, recommend health education classes and provide preventive care services.
You can also perform your own research into this matter by learning what you can do right now to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. The best options to take today would be to maintain a nutritious diet, get plenty of exercise, quit smoking and take charge of your healthcare.