Trust me, I know what you go through and I’m not always happy about it either.

Every time I go to my doctor’s office, I get asked the same questions over and over. What’s my address? What’s my phone number? What insurance do I have? Blah, blah; always the same thing.

I’m a pretty settled person. I’ve lived in the same house for 15 years. Sure, I travel, but everything else is pretty stable… right?


Sam Howzit via Compfight

Actually, no. Truth be told there have been some interesting changes over the last 3 years. My wife left her job and thus we lost our insurance. Then I got insurance through the Affordable Care Act, only to have the number changed 7 months later when they realized they’d set it up incorrectly. We still have the same home phone but I have a business line and a smartphone, and my wife, who now travels for work, has 3 different phone numbers.

Believe it or not, at least half the people who show up in hospitals for services are fairly transient. Most either move every couple of years, change phone numbers often, or change jobs. This isn’t like our parents, most of whom got a job and stayed at the same company for 40 years, then retired.

That’s one reason. Another is that information is often put into the system incorrectly. Sure, that’s the fault of the medical staff, but it still affects you and getting your bills paid, especially if you have insurance. Let one number be incorrect when it comes to your birth date, phone number or address and an insurance company can deny a claim. And sometimes, the staff working denied claims doesn’t know what they’re doing, and the next thing you know you have a bill saying you owe the entire thing.

If you’re ready to embrace this fact, then here are some things you should try to do every time you go to either the hospital or doctor’s office.

1. Have your insurance cards ready. Don’t wait for them to ask if you have insurance. Let them have it, and if possible watch to see if they type it into the system properly. If it’s an office staff with any sense they’ll scan a copy of your cards.

2. Have your driver’s license to give to them. I know, this one irks me also, but they ask for this not only to make sure they get your information correct, but to protect themselves from identity theft. I don’t know the actual figures, but often people show up in emergency rooms with someone else’s information. Doing this protects you from fraud.

3. If you’re going for something relatively serious (anything more than a check up, x-ray or lab procedure, etc), bring your Health Care Proxy form (allows someone else to make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to) and your Advance Directives (telling people if you want to be resuscitated, kept alive artificially). These are crucial items because you just never know.

Pretty simple things, even if it sometimes gets on your nerve. I’ve learned to breathe deeply to keep myself calm and just go with the flow. Maybe that’ll work for you also. 🙂

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