We’ve all had the frustration of walking out of our doctor’s office and realizing that we haven’t addressed all the problems that led to the doctor visit or haven’t had all our questions answered – sometimes because we weren’t organized enough, sometimes because we simply didn’t have enough time with the doctor.
Financially, we’d like to get all our healthcare ‘in-network’ – with doctors who participate with our health plan, so that we need part with only a relatively small co-pay for the visit. It’s important to realize, however, that the participating doctor has discounted his fees in order to participate and has had to add staff and equipment in order to handle the paperwork and phone calls generated by the insurance companies. When you consider the increasing cycle of skyrocketing costs and decreasing reimbursements, you can see that participating doctors must see more and more patients daily – spending less and less time with each.
If you’re lucky enough to have a policy which covers out of network healthcare, and you want more time with the doctor, then choose a physician who does not accept insurance. Do check to see how long the doctor spends for a complete exam and for a short office visit, to see if that scheduling better suits your needs than an in-network doctor. You’ll probably have to pay up-front, submitting the claims to your insurance company and waiting to be reimbursed.
Whichever system you choose, make sure to maximize your time with your doctor:
• On your first visit, give the doctor a detailed medical history – preferably typed, and including your allergies, past surgeries and serious illnesses, family medical history and a list of all your medications, including dietary supplements and other over-the-counter products - even if you don’t use them regularly (in fact, you should always carry that list of medications in your wallet, along with your doctor’s business card, in case of emergency); on subsequent visits, always give the doctor an updated list of those medications