Take Charge of Your Own Health Care!

It is becoming more and more important for each of us to take charge of our own health care and not depend on the “system” to do everything for us.  The costs of care are slowly being shifted towards the individual.  Consider:

Trends in private insurance:

  • increased premiums, copayments, coinsurance and deductibles
  • insurers can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions (a good thing), but this coverage is becoming much more expensive

Trends in Medicare:

  • increasing age of eligibility (proposed)
  • increasing premiums for part B coverage
  • increasing annual deductibles and copayments
  • limitations on government responsibility (proposed voucher system)

Trends in Medicaid:

  • reduced eligibility
  • increased copayments
  • fewer physicians will accept it
  • shifting patients into managed care programs

What all of this means is:

  • health care will become more expensive for the individual
  • access to the system will become more difficult

To protect ourselves, our health and our finances, we must each become more self sufficient and take charge of our own health.

Here are some things that we, as individuals can do:

  • Adopt healthier habits (diet, exercise, stress avoidance or stress management)
  • Do your own research and have your own opinions about what is best for you
  • Request (and receive) copies of your test results and exams
  • Use a Personal Health Record (PHR), and keep copies of your test results in this PHR
  • Ask your doctor educated questions about your plan of care.  If you don’t understand something, discuss it
  • Ask about the safety of drugs and medical devices
  • Join disease or care-focused groups.  Network, and ask people with similar conditions about what has worked for them.
  • Research the cost and reputation of the doctors and hospitals who will be treating you

Most important, stand up for yourself.  After all, it is your health, your life, and increasingly, your money.

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