Prevention: The Best Medicine

The world knows that prevention is the best medicine. Since nearly all benefit plans cover annual preventive care visits, you probably have access to that medicine for free. Here are nine tips on how to get the most out of this benefit.

1. Go in healthy. Don’t wait until you’re sick to make an appointment. Going in healthy means your provider can get a true sense of your overall health.
2. Get your shots. Annual flu shots and other immunizations are typically part of a free preventive care visit.
3. Answer questions accurately. Your provider should ask a lot of questions about your overall health as well as about things like alcohol and tobacco use, depression, your stress level, and more.
4. Go in ready. Before you see your provider, make a list of your health questions, recent health worries, or recurring aches and pains. Talk through that list during your visit.
5. Bring a list of your medicine and health history. You’ll receive the best care when your doctor has up-to-date information about your health history, allergies, and any medicines you take regularly (including non-prescription medicines).
6. Expect a test. Your provider likely will order tests as part of the exam (cholesterol and blood sugar tests, colonoscopies, prostate exams for men, pap tests and mammograms for women, etc.). Some common tests are not covered by all benefits programs, so ask which tests will be covered. For a list of common preventive tests, see the April 2017 Living Smart Newsletter.
7. Ask for advice. If your provider doesn’t make recommendations about ways you can live healthier, ask.
8. Get it in writing. Take a notebook to write down information, instructions and advice, or ask your provider to give you information in writing.
9. Stay on point or pay. If you do have an immediate health concern that requires treatment during a preventive care visit, your provider will probably charge you for that part of the visit.

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