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5 Ways to better manage your health care

Get organized in 2016A new year often means focusing on health related goals: losing weight, eating better, exercising more, and cutting out unhealthy habits. The new year is also a time to get organized and to tackle those projects you have been putting off year after year. In 2016, make it a year of better health and organization by establishing a system to better manage your health care. From medical bills to appointments, you can be in control of your own care by following these simple tips:

  1. Go digital. Many physicians’ offices are now offering access to online medical charts that provide you easy access to your health history and allows you to stay better informed about your health. Online charts are also another way to improve communication between you and your doctor, which allows you to ask questions and voice concerns as they arise, rather than waiting to schedule an in-person visit.
  2. Opt-in to receive appointment reminders. It’s always a good idea to write down appointments as they are scheduled, but sometimes even that is not enough to actually make it to an appointment. Ask you doctor’s office if they offer appointment reminders via phone, text, and/or email, and sign yourself up. Being reminded of an appointment by your doctor might make you more accountable for attending your visit, and can even save you money by avoiding cancelation or no-show fees.
  3. Pay off medical debt. It’s easy to rack up medical bills and start feeling overwhelmed. If you have trouble making payments, ask your doctor’s office if they offer payment plans. A payment plan can reduce the stress caused by not making payments on time while still chipping away at the bottom line. Once you have a payment plan in place, find ways to save money in order to set aside more funds for your medical bills. For instance, dine out less and put the money you would have spent on a tip towards your monthly bill. It might not be a lot, but every little bit helps.
  4. Make your insurance policy accessible. While you probably keep your insurance cards on you at all times, it’s a good idea to have a copy of your insurance policy in an easily accessible place. Make copies of your cards and print a copy of your insurance policy and keep it filed in a fire safe cabinet or safe with your other important documents. Make sure the person responsible for you in case of an emergency also has access to those documents.
  5. Throw out old medications. Clean out your medicine cabinet and throw away any medications that have expired or are no longer needed. Many localities or pharmacies offer drug take back programs so that you can dispose of your old medications in a safe way. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of current medications and dosages to take with you to doctor’s appointments.

Use all or some of these tips to help you stay in control of you health care in 2016. Only you can make your health a priority!

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