Most patients don't do a great job of communicating with their doctors, because patients often give too little pertinent information to go on. Remember, just like a detective, doctors are looking for the facts. At the same time, they may also give us too many distracting or off-topic details.
The first sign of a smart patient is that telltale document they produce during their first visit or their 50th—it's their health profile. This is the sign of a patient who means business, one who will challenge us to be at our absolute best and who won't waste time and money on redundant and unnecessary efforts.
Record your profile with this health journal.
Bring Your Health Advocate
Bring your health advocate to your doctor's appointment when you're giving your health history. There are a lot of questions that only he or she can answer.
How Healthy Is Your Health Insurance?
Many of us have few options in picking health insurance, because we're tied to the plan from our jobs. But when you are lucky enough to have choices, here are some important questions to ask:
- How does the insurer rate with the National Committee on Quality Assurance? Find out at NCQA.org. Also, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners lets you check out individual companies at NAIC.org.
- Which hospitals and doctors are in the plan's network? Are the hospitals Joint Commission–accredited? If your doctor isn't in the network, ask your company's HR department to twist the insurer's arm to add him or her.
- What will happen if I get cancer, get pregnant or become disabled? These are the biggies that really test insurance.
- What's the maximum lifetime benefit? It should be at least $5 million.
- At what age will my children be cut off from the plan?