Your health is everything. When you become ill, other aspects of your life are adversely affected. That’s why it’s important to do whatever you can to make sure you get the healthcare you deserve from your medical providers. Remember your doctor works for <em>you</em> not the other way around. Here are five simple tips for becoming an empowered patient. <em>By Sheiresa Ngo</em>
</a>Schedule your appointments at the right time: </strong>If you want your doctor's undivided attention it's best to see him/her when they're most focused. Schedule the first appointment of the morning, the first after lunch, or the last of the day. That way you get face time with your medical provider when they're alert and you don't have to worry about being rushed out the door for the next appointment. Also, try your best to avoid appointments around holidays and weekends. You’ll be more likely to have your doctor’s full attention during these times.
</a>Ask questions: </strong>Don’t be intimidated. Ask all the questions you need to ask about your case. Your doctor is being paid to help you, so don’t be shy and answer truthfully. Sitting in a doctor's office can be nerve-racking so devise a list of specific questions for your doctor and write them down in a notebook. This way, you won’t forget what you’d like to talk to your doctor about.
</a>Know your insurance coverage: </strong>Read and understand your health insurance policy. Be sure to review the explanation of your benefits after you receive treatment so that you can make sure the correct payments are being made. Afterall, you are paying for the insurance and co-payments so you might as well get your money's worth.
</a>Get a second opinion: </strong>When dealing with a major illness that may include a risky surgery or treatment, it’s always best to seek another opinion. If both opinions are different, you might want to get a third opinion just to be on the safe side. You only have one body but several options on how to keep it intact.
</a><strong>For further reading:</strong> <li><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2010/09/30/how-to-fight-medical-billing-errors/"><strong>How to Fight Medical Billing Errors</strong></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2010/05/25/what-healthcare-reform-means-for-you/"><strong>What Healthcare Reform Means for You</strong></a></li>