At the start of a new year, many people turn their attention to their health. And many start by taking the same positive step: scheduling their annual physical.
A physical examination is a great opportunity to sit down with your primary care physician and get a gauge on your health, while also addressing any questions you may have about your medical future. If your health insurance policy is ACA-compliant, the cost of your annual physical will most likely be completely covered by your insurance company as a “preventive service,” making this yearly review even more practical.
What can you do to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your physical? Here are three key steps to take before the day of your doctor’s visit:
1.) Confirm That Your Physician Is In-Network
If you recently changed insurance plans or haven’t looked into the details of your current plan in awhile, you may want to check to make sure that your go-to physician is still in-network.
An in-network provider, also called a preferred provider or participating provider, is a medical professional who has reached an agreement with your health insurance company to offer services to members of your plan at a set rate. Generally, going to an in-network provider means having an easier, more streamlined process along with the benefit of significant cost-savings.
When it comes to your physical, the “cost-free” preventive care that may be covered by your plan typically only applies if you see an in-network provider. If you go to an out-of-network physician or provider, you may end up paying a lot more for services that you may have gotten for a much lower cost otherwise.
To determine which of your local doctors are in-network, try looking them up on your insurance carrier’s website. Most have a provider directory, allowing you to look up who belongs to your network before you book an appointment. You can also call your insurance carrier directly.
If you’ve previously purchased insurance with Matt Peebles or the Enrollment Specialists, we can help you find a provider, confirm whether or not a doctor or facility is in your network, and handle other questions about your health network, as well. Just drop us a line, and Matt can help set you down the right path — all at absolutely no cost to you.
2.) Gather Your Important Paperwork, Including Your Insurance Card
As you look ahead to your physical, it’s important to take a moment to gather all of the documents and paperwork you may need. If you’ve already granted them permission, your physician will be able to pull your medical records. But if, for example, you are seeing a new medical provider, taking some time to pull together what records you have on hand can only help to streamline things, and help you make the most of your appointment.
One important thing to collect ahead of time is your insurance card. Small but mighty, your insurance card is incredibly important to have on hand when you go for any medical appointment. It contains important information about your health insurance plan, and will make it easier for your health care provider to get you set up per all the paperwork when you go to your appointment. If your insurance is new and you haven’t receive a permanent ID card, you can log onto your provider’s website to get a copy of a temporary card.
Here are a few other documents you may want to gather together before your physical exam:
- Your device card, if you have an implanted medical device, like a pacemaker
- A list of the prescription medications you are taking or have recently taken, with dosages; also include any vitamins, over-the-counter medications, or supplements
- Results from any recent medical tests or examinations
- Vaccination history
- Names and contact information for any medical professionals you have seen recently
- The contact information for your emergency medical contact. This is the person your physician or hospital will notify if you are ever unexpectedly admitted to the hospital or the like
- A list of any allergies you have, particularly allergic reactions to medication
You may not necessarily be asked for all of this information by your doctor or nurse, but having all of this important information could certainly come in handy if you have to fill out a medical history form before your examination, or field in-depth questions from your physician during your appointment.
3.) Take Note of Your Symptoms and Questions
In the same vein as gathering your medical records and paperwork, be sure to take some time before your physical exam to take stock of your health. This can help you clarify what you want to focus on when you see your doctor, and help you answer any questions you may receive more fully and accurately.
Before your physical, it may help to do some digging and jot down some notes about your:
- Family medical history. The more information you have on hand about the health history of your parents, grandparents, and extended family, the better. Having a sense of your family’s medical history can help your physician get a better sense of your health needs. For instance, if your parents have had experiences with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or hypertension, you may be at increased risk for developing the same condition.
- Current health concerns. What’s on your mind? Be sure to think of any symptoms, physical changes, or health worries that you may have noticed recently, so that you can bring them up with your doctor. Be sure to also take some time to reflect on your current lifestyle and how it may be affecting your health. Think about things like your diet, exercise habits, and whether you face any health issues due to work (such as high stress levels or specific occupational hazards).
- Pressing questions. Be sure to list any questions you have for your physician. This list could include questions about any health symptoms you may be experiencing or any medications you may be taking. There’s no question too small or too big to get into. Remember that your physician is there to be your resource. He or she will welcome your questions, as this can give them a better sense of what you want or need as a patient.
Looking for Help with Your Biggest Health Insurance Questions?
As you look ahead to your yearly physical, you may find yourself asking all sorts of questions, not just about your health, but your health insurance. If you have any questions about your current plan, or you think it’s time to make a switch, remember that the Enrollment Specialists are here to help.
Led by our founder and CEO, Matt Peebles, the Enrollment Specialists can help you customize the insurance plan that’s right for you. Whether you need a new individual plan, a revamped group health plan for your business, or a guide for all things Medicare Supplement insurance, Matt is here and ready to step in. We don’t believe in cookie-cutter care here at the Enrollment Specialists, and as your health and life insurance consultant, Matt will truly get to know what makes you unique, so he can help you create the right policy for your needs.
Even better? Once you’ve enrolled in the right plan, you’ll always be able to say “I Got A Guy” for all things health and life insurance. Instead of having to rely on insurance company websites or unhelpful chat rooms, Matt will always be just a quick phone call or email away, ready to help with any questions or concerns you may have for the entire life of your policy. And remember, it will never cost you a cent to go to Matt for speedy, hands-on service.
Have any more questions? Ready to see what one of the nation’s top health and life insurance brokers can do for you? Drop us a line today to get the conversation started.