Learn how to manage costs and get the right care.
With health insurance premiums rising, insurers and doctors want to balance costs while keeping health care effective and accessible for everyone. But patients play a role in keeping a lid on expenses. It starts with being proactive, offering honest information, and asking your doctor the right questions. Raki Pai, executive medical director at Regence, shared some strategies for how to be your own advocate and get the best care.
How can you minimize costs before your appointment?
When should you ask for a second opinion? How can you start that conversation?
Any time you feel uncertain or uncomfortable with your options, seek out a second opinion. If your doctor is offended, then he or she is probably not the right doctor for you. It's really as simple as speaking up if you aren't 100 percent comfortable with your care plan. You must be your own care advocate.
But for some people, the doctor's office can be an intimidating place...
Absolutely. In that case, bring someone with you to your appointment. Medical conversations can be stressful for a number of reasons. The last thing you want to do is miss an important detail or not speak up during a conversation with your doctor. Bringing a family member or friend may help keep you honest. You are more likely to share all of your symptoms, ask all of your questions and not withhold valuable information if you have a loved one by your side. So when in doubt, bring someone you trust.
What other advice would you give patients?
What questions should you ask about prescription drugs?
As we all know, drug costs contribute substantially to overall medical spending. There are some basic things you can do to ensure you're getting a safe and effective treatment for a fair price. Ask if there is a generic version of your prescription available. Question your doctor about potential side effects. Additionally, opioid addiction has been in the headlines of late, so before you take one of these drugs to manage your pain, see if there is a safer alternative. Also, know your family history and if you have a higher risk of addiction. '
Be your own health advocate.