50 Tips and Tools to Manage Your Own Medical CarePosted September 24th, 2008 by Site Administrator in Health (No Comments »)
With Washington fighting over the state of average Americans’ rights and medical costs, the rest of us have been left to our own devices to come up with creative ways to find insurance, save for prescriptions and access our health records. To make you feel a little less alone in the struggle, we’ve put together this list of 50 tips and tools that you can use to manage your own medical care and come up with a plan that makes sense for your needs and your budget.
Insurance This list is full of articles and tips for understanding what kind of health insurance you need, how to get it, and how to stand up for your rights against insurance agencies.
- Health Insurance 101: Get an overview of the major types of health insurance, as well as definitions of health insurance terms like PPO, HMO, co-payments and more on this website.
- Health Insurance is Complicated…: RevolutionHealth’s health insurance guide includes tips on using your plan, understanding medical privacy, tips on changing your insurance, figuring out payment options and more.
- A Consumer Guide to Handling Disputes with Your Employer or Private Health Plan: This guide is from 2005 but still features significant points for consumers who want to file a claim or make a complaint about their health insurance.
- Health Insurance for Freelancers: Professionals who are self-employed can learn about their health insurance options here.
- How to Pick and Insurance Plan You Can Afford: This news article encourages consumers to think about generic vs. brand-name drug coverage, lifetime coverage limit and other factors.
- Health Insurance Eligibility Quiz: Take this quiz to find out if you can receive subsidized or low-cost insurance.
- Artist’s Health Insurance: Here you can learn about temporary health insurance, discounts, networks that provide health insurance and more.
- Medicare.gov: This official website has information and tools for drug coverage, lowering your health care costs and more.
- Health Insurance: Understanding Your Health Plan’s Rules: This article goes over all the grim realities of health insurance plans.
- 6 Tips to Choosing the Right Health Insurance: Reporter Jean Chatzky’s tips include asking a broker, setting up a health savings account and negotiating your prescriptions.
Health Records Keep track of your medical records with these innovative online tools.
- HealthRecordsOnline: Pay for a subscription to this company’s services, and you’ll be able to access your health records and let your caregiver find your records online.
- HealthVault: Microsoft’s HealthVault is free to use and lets members "collect, store and share information with family members" and eventually doctors.
- Access My Records: This program lets medical professionals view your records from a cell phone through your AccessID card.
- iHealthRecord: This program works with Google Health and doctors around the country to keep your health information safe and cohesive.
- healthizen: This site lets members manage their health records, understand and read their vitals, figure out risk assessments, access health and diet calculators and more.
- Personal Medical Diary: Keep track of your medication, pharmacies, doctors, tests, office visits, vitals and more with this tool.
- Your Personal Health Record: This online diary lets you organize pages to keep track of emergency contact information, vital signs, appointments, medical history, prescriptions and more. Fill in your information and the portable booklet will be mailed to you.
- Google Health: Organize your health records and information on Google Health, a program that can also share your records with doctors.
- Consider your priorities: Determine what kind of online medical records system you want to set up. Do you want one that will help doctors in another part of the country access your records in case of a vacation-related emergency? Or, do you want a program that lets you and your regular doctor share files and lab results more quickly and without office visits?
- Remember your privacy: Sure, it’s more convenient, but remember to be extremely defensive regarding your medical privacy. Set up passwords, make sure your Internet connection is safe, and find out exactly who is going to be peeking at your medical records before you set up an online system.
Locating Medical Care When you need help locating medical care while you’re on vacation or when you’ve just moved to a new town, use these tools to locate hospitals and clinics. You can also find specialists in your own hometown.
- AMA DoctorFinder: The American Medical Association allows you to search "virtually every licensed physician in the United States" using this tool.
- WebMD Physician Directory: Once you’ve looked up your symptoms on WebMD, search for a doctor in your area by zip code, city, state, last name or specialty.
- FamilyDoctor.org: Click on a state or type in your zip code to start this family doctor search.
- Find a Hospital: MedlinePlus’ directory lets you search by name, zip code or city to connect patients to nearby hospitals.
- DoctorDirectory.com Specialty Search: Browse specialties like osteopathic medicine, family practice, radiology and X-rays, allergies, infectious disease and more with this tool.
- UCompareHealthCare: This service is linked with About.com and gives the public the tools to compare and locate doctors and hospitals, nursing homes, fertility clinics, mammography centers and more.
Home Remedies and Alternative Medicine Discover what home remedies and alternative medicine can do for your health and your medical care budget.
- Medline Plus Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Look up your symptoms and more in the directories and reference guides on this site.
- Home Remedies: Look up remedies for conditions like arthritis, indigestion, hay fever, yeast infections, nausea and more on this site.
- Natural Herbs Guide: From Chinese herbs to antioxidants to herbal medicine, use this guide to ease symptoms without paying too much at the pharmacy.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Here you’ll find alternative and natural medical treatments from a safe, authoritative source.
Free and Discounted Medical Care and Tools For links to free and/or discounted medical care, look here.
- HRSA Find a Health Center: This government site connects Americans to federally-funded health care centers.
- Free and/or Low Cost Medical Care: This About.com article outlines free clinics for children and adults.
- MediLexicon Internet Browser Medical Toolbar: Install this web surfing tool in order to quickly look up medical abbreviations, terms in a medical dictionary, access pharmaceutical companies and more.
- Harvard Medical School Open Course Initiative: To learn more about your body, drugs, pain management, biology and other medical and health care issues, take a free class from Harvard Medical School through this system.
- FreeMedicalCamps.com: Look up free clinics and dental clinics by state using this tool.
Authoritative Websites for Diagnosis and Advice Go beyond Google-ing your symptoms when you look up diseases, ask a specialist, and take advantage of the free medical tools on these sites.
- Healthline: Look up information on diseases or search your symptoms on this site.
- WebMD: This awesome site features medical articles, a pill identifier, hospital and doctor finder, discussion boards, personal health record and more.
- MayoClinic.com: Access free medical tools to determine your health, risk factors and symptoms. MayoClinic.com also publishes articles from doctors and nurses, and you can even submit questions to be answered by specialists.
- Wrong Diagnosis: Avoid misdiagnosing your symptoms when you take a closer look at the tools and articles on this site. Nothing can compare with a visit to your doctor, but this site can get you started.
- HealthCentral.com: This network features articles, videos, Q&A opportunities, health tools, a drug library and a lot more.
- MedicalStudent.com: Access textbooks and more from top medical schools by visiting this site.
- Medscape: WebMD’s other site, Medscape, invites the public to visit its specialty sites to learn more about certain conditions and treatments. Browse specialties like HIV/AIDS, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, dermatology and others.
- HRSA.gov: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides information and links to sites about transplants and organ donation, free health care, vaccine injuries and more.
Tips for Organization and Budgeting Keeping your medical records and health history organized is paramount to saving money and staying healthy. Get more tips and tools here.
- Family Health Budget: Use this tool to organize your family’s medical expenses online.
- 50 Easy Tips to Lower Your Healthcare Expenses: Get insurance hacks and more from this article.
- Paying for health care in retirement: This guide will help you plan for the high medical expenses you may incur during retirement.
- Start a health savings account: Starting a health savings account is becoming a more popular solution for many Americans.
- Organize your health: Here you’ll find out what you need to include in an organized medical history diary.
- Planning for Health Emergencies Eases Stress of Family Travel: Before going on vacation or sending your children off to college, come up with a medical care plan just in case.
- Medical Power of Attorney Form: Fill out and submit a form like this one to designate someone to make all medical decisions for you in case you’re unable to do so.
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