National Wise Health Care Consumer Month


Do you consume health care wisely? This is the month for Marylanders to consider that question.

The sad truth is, studies have shown that most Americans take more time researching their car or appliance purchases than they do doctors and health plans. But what is more precious than your health? Certainly not a new truck or refrigerator.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that, according to a 2011 survey, the majority of Americans do not feel confident that shopping around for good health care will actually save them any money. The attitude seems to be, “It’s going to cost me a fortune no matter what I do or where I go, so what difference does it make?”

Meanwhile, health care costs continue to skyrocket. An average doctor visit costs about 200 dollars, while an emergency room visit costs nearly a thousand.

Fortunately, as health care consumers, we aren’t as powerless as we may feel. Part of the purpose of National Wise Health Care Consumer month is to inform and empower people about making smart choices when it comes to their health care. The American Institute for Preventive Medicine has created a Wise Health Care Consumerism Toolkit, which you can access online. It offers elaborate tips for being a wise health care consumer, which are briefly outlined below:

  1. Take your time selecting a doctor.
  2. Prepare for doctor visits in advance by writing down your questions and concerns.
  3. Ask questions about all the medications you are prescribed.
  4. Tell all of your doctors about all the medications you are taking.
  5. Avoid unnecessary (and expensive) medical testing by keeping track of all the tests you take.
  6. Use home medical tests when they are available.
  7. Maintain a well-stocked home pharmacy that can help you manage common problems without a doctor.
  8. Know your health insurance plan inside and out.
  9. Don’t forget to take care of your mental health just as you would your physical health.
  10. Keep a list of health agencies handy.

Wise Health Care Consumer Month also has a special relevance for business owners who provide health care plans to their employees. It’s an ideal time for you to empower your employees by starting a self-care program in which employees can really learn about their health benefits, learn how to create a home pharmacy, workshop ways to have  good doctor-patient communication, discover the criteria by which they should evaluate their health care providers, and educate themselves on new ways to prevent illness.

Here’s to a healthy 2016!

For any information about health insurance, call or contact Consolidated today.