What to know before you see your doctor

August 13, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Most of the time, we aren’t thinking about what we would need to know if we had to see a doctor.

What tests does your insurance cover? What doctor can you see for the least amount of money out of pocket? We don’t think about these questions until we need care.

And when you need to see a doctor NOW, you don’t have a lot of time to research things like what doctor or hospital to use.

It pays to have a basic understanding of your benefits before you or a family member gets sick.

First, check out your insurance plan.

  • What network do you have? A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) allows you to see a specialist of your choice without having to get a referral. A Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) requires you to select a primary care physician, who will direct and coordinate your care (including specialist referrals).
  • What’s your out-of-pocket cost? How much will it actually cost you to see a provider? Some plans have coinsurance (where you pay a percentage of the bill and insurance pays the rest). Some plans require copayments (a fixed dollar amount you are responsible for at each appointment). Some plans have deductibles (an amount you pay for services before the insurance plan begins to pay).

In general, it’s cheapest to use only what you need when it comes to healthcare. That means seeing your primary care doctor when you get sick or, if it’s after-hours, starting at a Walk-In Clinic or an Immediate Care Center instead of the Emergency Room, unless you have a life-threatening condition.

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a cost estimator tool that can help you determine how much a service will cost based on your insurance. (Make sure you read the FAQs)

We also provide financial counselors when you check in for a test or procedure who can help you understand your insurance plan and costs.

Before you go, make sure you know what to bring. Your healthcare provider may need to see:

  • Your insurance card
  • Identification, such as a driver’s license
  • An order from your doctor for a test or procedure
  • A list of medications you’re currently taking

You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire so your provider has your most accurate health information.

When it’s time for your appointment, there are a number of ways to check in with an Edward-Elmhurst Health provider.

You may check in when you arrive — some offices also have electronic kiosks you can use to check in.

You may also check in through MyChart, a website and mobile app that also allows you to make appointments, send messages to your physician’s office, request prescription refills and pay bills.

Take the time to understand your medical benefits, how to save money and what to bring to your appointment before you see a doctor. That way, when you’re sick and you need care NOW, you’ll be ready.

Choosing a primary care physician can be overwhelming. Begin your search with Edward-Elmhurst Health’s Find-A-Doctor database.

You can book online today to set up your first appointment.

If you want real convenience, sign up for MyChart and download our new app to navigate your healthcare all in one place.

Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago: 

Five things to consider when choosing a primary care physician

 

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