Once you hit adulthood, things begin to pile up. Work, financial responsibilities, car repairs, children, pets, events, etc. How is one supposed to prioritize health when nothing seems wrong?
Most US adults only visit their doctors when they are sick, and many don’t have primary care providers that they know. With the uptick of many chain type health providers that offer quick online check ins, multiple locations and perceived low prices, many adults aren’t even seeing the same providers when they ARE sick. This can often lead to disjointed healthcare and it’s harder for you as well as a healthcare provider to identify potential risks or signs of larger issues that might not be as obvious as a cold.
So now what? How can I maintain a good relationship and schedule with my provider when I’m busy? How can I afford it?
Firstly, finding the right provider sounds daunting, but you definitely can develop a list or even pick one within a few minutes. You can log on to your insurance provider’s (if you have one) website and see in-network doctors within a certain radius to a zip code. You also can call the customer service line for this information as well. From there, you can look up Google reviews about other individuals’ experiences. Also, you can ask friends for recommendations and cross reference that with your list. If you don’t have an insurance provider, you can still look at Google reviews and specifically search for self-pay options. Many doctors and health care providers list prices on their sites (and this is definitely something that puts them in the pro column).
After you have found a provider to try, give them a call or look for their website to make an appointment. Many providers (like us) also have extended hours and accept walk-ins, which might work better with a busy schedule. Prior to your appointment, you can budget the self-pay if you wish to have a specific number in mind for payment. You also can contact your insurance company to see the rates of coverage. These are necessary questions to ask, don’t be scared to ask. Planning ahead is key.
Once you’ve established care and have a good grasp on cost, you can plan out your visits. Annual check ups are recommended for those 18 and up. The nice thing is that once you have established care, you will be more likely to know risks and adjust your healthcare schedule based upon that.
While this is not an exhaustive nor customized plan, it’s a good place to start. Your health matters and you matter. Just a little research, planning and relationship building can change your life for the better.