Peninsula Home Care Molds Wise Health Care Consumers Through Education and Prevention
PHC Provides Medicare Break Down to Caregivers and Patients as part of
Wise Health Care Consumer Month
SALISBURY, MD - As consumers we spend a lot of time shopping for our groceries, cars and clothes. Some of us even look for sales, coupons and consumer reviews before making a purchase. When it comes to healthcare, this isn’t always the case. Studies show that Americans spend more time researching car purchases and new appliances than they do choosing doctors and health plans. Peninsula Home Care wants to make it easier for patients and caregivers to understand their options and how they can reduce their health care costs.
"Education is key." said Therese Ganster, Peninsula Home Care Community Liaison. "Information about health care choices can be confusing and hard to find for the consumer. In addition to the cost savings patients can accrue by shopping around, family members and caregivers need to know that they have the right to choose the care providers that best meet their health care needs. Many caregivers don’t realize they can advocate for their loved ones to receive home care and other services by simply asking questions and making requests to their physicians."
In addition to services and care providers, patients have a choice when it comes time to pay the bill. Medicare doesn’t necessarily offer a "one-size-fits-all" package and therefore consumers need to understand the benefits and liabilities that come with each program. A breakdown of the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage is explained on the Peninsula Home Care website and in the attached document.
10 Tips for Being a Wise Health Care Consumer
- Understand your health insurance plan. A list of basic questions about what is covered and knowing the answers to these questions can save time and money,
- Take the time to carefully select a doctor or health care provider. Investigate whether or not the doctor participates with your health insurance plan.
- Prepare for visits to your health care provider by compiling lists of questions or concerns you wish to discuss during your appointment. Don’t be shy about asking them to explain words/terminology you may not understand. You can make the most of the time you have and avoid unnecessary calls and repeat visits.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about medications you are prescribed. Understand why you are taking it and how it should be taken.
- Keep a checklist of all medications you are taking and share this list with your health care provider(s). This is especially true if you had a recent hospitalization or a new physician visit when some medications may have been added, deleted or using a generic name instead of the name initially prescribed. Your home health nurse will help sort this out for you and make sure all meds are being taken properly.
- Don’t forget that over the counter medications and supplements may interact with your prescribed medications. Bring those to the physician’s office and or share with your home care nurse.
- Keep your appointments with your physicians and schedule routine medical tests and examinations, at the recommended times to have them. You may be able to avoid further unnecessary and expensive tests, surgeries or treatments in the future if you follow recommendations made by your physicians.
- Preventing falls are critical when it comes to your health. If your health and or ability to get around have changed due to a recent illness or move to a new environment, consider having physical therapy and occupational therapy in your home. The occupational therapist can be a great resource to assist you in adapting your home environment to meet your needs to keep you as independent as possible in your own home.
- Take care of your mental health as well as you would your physical health. States of emotional upset can interfere with daily living routines, and can ultimately affect you physical well-being. Your physician can assist you with obtaining resources to help in coping with stress.
- Keep a list of health agencies handy as a reference to help you age in place, preferably in your home. Most are available by phone, fax or email and can serve as a resource for free information and support.