By Hazel Bridges, Contributing Writer
Being your own advocate when it comes to your health is so important. No one cares more about your well-being than you do, so it’s imperative that you take charge of your health and ensure you’re getting the best possible care available. Wellspring Center for Prevention has listed some tried-and-tested tips for becoming a self-advocate for your health:
Maintain Your Own Health Records
One of the best ways to be an advocate for your own health is to maintain your medical records. Keep track of all of your appointments, medications, and test results in one place. This will help you keep track of your health and spot any patterns or changes. It will also be helpful if you ever need to switch doctors or providers.
PDFs are an ideal format for storing and updating your medical records. They can be easily accessed online (by you and your healthcare team), and with the right online tool, you can quickly extract PDFs and create new ones. This makes it easy to keep your records up to date and access them whenever necessary.
Know How To Spot Errors on Your Medical Bills
Medical bills can be confusing, but it’s important to know how to read them so that you can spot errors. Don’t hesitate to call the billing department and ask for an explanation if there are any charges that you don’t understand. You have a right to know what you’re being charged for, and you shouldn’t have to pay for anything that you don’t understand!
Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes Worth Making
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in improving your overall health. Eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases. Try to stick to whole foods and lean proteins in place of processed foods. And look for simple opportunities to fit physical activity into your day, such as walking stairs and doing your own yard work.
Also, quitting smoking (if you do smoke) is one of the best things you can do for your health. Here are a few other ways to lead a healthy lifestyle no matter how busy you are:
- Drink plenty of water
- Get enough restful sleep
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Find stress management techniques that
- Fit your life and needs.
Making these kinds of changes can be difficult, but they’re worth it in the long run.
Learn How Health Insurance Works
As with medical bills, health insurance is complex. It’s critical to learn how it works to get the most out of your coverage. Make sure you understand what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. Know your deductible and how much you would have to pay out-of-pocket if you needed medical care. Educating yourself on health insurance will help you get the most bang for your buck.
Bring Along a Friend or Family Member to Appointments
Sometimes it helps to have a second set of ears when you’re at the doctor’s office. If possible, bring along a friend or family member with you to appointments so that they can listen and take notes while you talk to the doctor. They may even think of questions that you didn’t consider asking. Having someone with you can also help ensure that all of your questions are answered before you leave the office.
Taking charge of your health is vital, and being your own advocate is the best way to do that. Maintaining your records, knowing how to spot errors on medical bills, making healthy lifestyle changes, learning how insurance works, and bringing along a friend or family member to appointments are all excellent self-advocacy strategies. Remember that the extra time and energy it takes to advocate for your health will pay off in the long run.