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Guest Blogger: Lara Carlson
It is not always easy to stick up for yourself, even when it comes to finances, healthcare and other important matters. However, advocating for yourself and being aware of the steps you need to take in order to do so can lead to having a higher quality of life. Navigating the healthcare industry can be especially difficult for people who are unfamiliar with the complicated processes involved. Here are five of the many ways that you can advocate for your health.
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1. Ask Questions
When you go to an appointment with your doctor, dentist, therapist or other healthcare professional, that is your opportunity to ask any questions that you have and address concerns about their treatment plan. It can be uncomfortable for some people to ask questions, as they might regard it as questioning authority or being difficult. However, professionals who have your best interest in mind will not view asking questions in this way. Speak up if you are nervous or confused about anything during a medical appointment.
2. Know Your Options Regarding Care
When finances are tight, seeking preventive care may go to the back burner. However, there are often options for people who have a lower income or who meet certain criteria regarding age or pregnancy status. For example, if you qualify for a healthcare plan under the Affordable Care Act, you may be eligible to receive preventive care for free or at a low cost under the plan that you select. Community health centers can also be a good option for those who are uninsured and struggling to afford health care.
3. Get a Second Opinion
Although it is important that you trust your doctor, you should still trust your instinct if you believe they are giving you information that is incorrect or incomplete. In these cases, getting a second opinion can be very useful. Many health insurers will cover the cost of getting a second opinion so that you can get the best treatment possible.
4. Do What You Can
People can become ill no matter how many preventative measures they take. However, it is still a good idea to do what is under your control in order to remain in good health. For example, if you work long hours, you can still do things such as going for a walk after lunch and taking the stairs if you are able. Practicing meditation on a regular basis is another good way to relieve stress when you have a busy schedule.
5. Keep Track of Your Medical Records
Having an organized history of your medical records can be helpful when you want to review your health history with your medical professional. Keeping track of your medical records is an important step toward being able to advocate for your health because it allows you to easily access past health history and help the treatment process move along more quickly.
There are plenty of free online tools that can assist you with storing and organizing medical documents, where you can take a picture of the document and upload them to an easily accessible location on your smartphone or computer. If you want to keep all your records in one file, use a PDF merger tool which will allow you to combine PDF files. This makes it easier to look up information in your records in a timely manner.
Your health should be your number one priority, and with that comes being able to advocate for yourself when needed. Ask questions, be knowledgeable about your options, get a second opinion when necessary, live healthier, and keep track of your medical records.