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How to Get the Most from Your Family Health Insurance The Smart Doctor Visit

Do doctor visits always leave you feeling like you spent more of your valuable time in the waiting room than with the doctor? You may spend as much per month on your family health insurance than you do on groceries, your car, or even your rent or mortgage. Use these helpful tips to get the most out of your next trip to see your physician. Doctors are usually quite busy and aren't able to spend more than a few minutes with each patient, so it's your responsibility to prepare for a doctor visit and get the most from it. Call ahead.

If you are visiting a doctor for the first time, call the office before your appointment to learn more about the doctor and what you may expect when you get there. A recommendation from a friend or family member is often very helpful; however, all doctors do not necessarily suit all people's preferences. When scheduling your appointment, be aware of the wait-time corresponding with various times of the day. Generally, very early morning appointments and those just after lunch tend to have shorter wait-times. Also, when you call the office before your visit, ask if it's necessary to arrive early, or if there is any paperwork you can fill out before the appointment to save yourself some time.

You also want to confirm that the new doctor is a provider in your family health insurance company's network. This prevents unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Be prepared. Before your appointment, establish a goal that you intend to achieve during the visit.

For example, are you visiting the doctor to receive a diagnosis, or are you looking for improved ways to cope with an existing illness or condition? Or, you may need a change in treatment, or a referral to a specialist. Having a goal in mind will help you keep the visit with your doctor on track, allowing you to ask questions and make the visit the most efficient and beneficial. Compile a list of questions, concerns, and symptoms to discuss with your doctor. Make sure your medical records are up to date, and be able to provide a list of medications that you are taking.

And, when you arrive for the appointment, be sure to have your insurance card and fully understand your individual health insurance coverage. Speak up. When you are finally one-on-one with the doctor, speak up. Provide him with specific details about your condition, and allow him to decide whether or not the information is pertinent to your diagnosis. If you feel confused during the visit, don't hesitate to ask for further explanation. It is up to you to ask question upon question until you fully understand your diagnosis, the doctor's instructions, and the recommended treatment.

Failing to express your concerns or ask questions can keep you from feeling satisfied with your doctor visit. Keep in touch. Before leaving the office, schedule a follow-up appointment, if necessary, and notify your doctor of any changes in health following the visit. Don't let a doctor visit fly by and leave you feeling confused about the doctor's diagnosis and treatment advice. Follow these guidelines to make the most of your doctor visit: * Before your doctor visit, contact the office for information * Be prepared for the appointment * Express concerns and ask questions * Keep in touch following the appointment Remember, it is your time, your money, and your life.

Speak up. It's worth it.

US Insurance Online CEO Jim Waltrip is a self-taught software developer and entrepreneur with a passion for building things: teams of employees, software, and new systems. Jim started the company with business partner Ryan Patterson in May 2005. The recently re-launched Web site is designed to provide insurance shopping help and free insurance quotes. For assistance finding the right family health insurance plan, visit www.USInsuranceOnline.com



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