Understanding Your Health Care

Dr. Karen Latimer with tips on being your own best advocate.
5:52 | 11/02/11

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Transcript for Understanding Your Health Care
For many patients figuring out their health care can be difficult and confusing. Whether it's being educated on insurance or knowing providers many patients are simply losing their patience with Madison. So how do we navigate the system without making ourselves sick. Here to help without a family practitioner and author of the blog yes five dot net doctor Karen Latimer after Latimer thanks much for joining us thanks for having. So -- been looking into this and you find that patient satisfaction is pretty much of an all time low right now it's terror. On understandably so the medical climate in this country is. Essentially a disaster there is the -- of physicians. Shortage is time that their positions have to take care of their patients and it's -- it's understandable that patients are very frustrated and -- comes our health care providers were frustrated as well it seems like out of pocket expenses are going. It seems that what we used and I have to -- -- -- we now to pay for we -- pay more for even just the logistics nobody's really helping people navigate through -- you have to get preapproved for everything in many. Offices just aren't equipped to help patients with that's a patient's. Either of them are doing it and frustrated by -- aren't doing in and forgoing those exams and those tests that they need it's it's. Anderson south of a rising trend that physicians are dropping health care plans altogether that's right and then a lot of people who felt covered now -- You know if it's an actress. Even if your insurance -- that it's an actress that it's a little bit more typical -- absolutely I think patients feel abandoned -- and I can understand that -- a doctor -- occupation as well my doctor found my insurance that would be feeling a little at a loss and a little hands invited because. Who wants to go through -- -- and I I think -- knows how to do that filed the insurance yet we've never had to do that before it's it's. It's definitely something that you -- people -- and it puts off some visits absolutely wolf put off tests they will put off visits. Which of course leads to more people think that will absolutely and especially I think the visits that matter most to -- -- well ovens which are where you going to get -- preventative. Health care. -- people might go with they're -- and they're not feeling well but they won't go routinely if it's. More hassle for them or if they're afraid they're gonna have to spend more money for the visit -- frustrated with the doctor. -- and they feel stuck exactly room is there for negotiation with our insurance company. Well that's really doctors are negotiating with insurance companies but there is a little bit of room for patients to negotiate with their doctors sometimes especially for -- procedures. And certain kinds of visits so if your doctor has dropped your insurance you could look for another doctor or you can educate yourself find out what your insurance company will pay. Determine what you could make up if you can make up the difference and possibly is not as much as you'd think it might be. And then you can talk to your doctor if there's an that you go to your doctor for frequently are your children do it or need. You can talk to the doctor -- listen if this woman insurance company is paying. And that opinion willing to do the people are -- but this is the gap that I have is there any way you can meet -- in the middle and a lot of doctors will do that I'll -- that's very good turnout especially a doctor you have a relationship with -- -- -- that's right because that's such an important -- to have a -- relationship with your doctor and you don't automatically. That your gut reaction is gonna say. Will not take my insurance and -- -- -- I assure you I -- I need to leave I might not necessarily be the case -- and yeah tips for patients who. Just feel that there at the end of their -- -- I do. So I think everyone and is -- not helpful at this is take a deep breath and realize that it is bad kind in medicine in America and just accepted a little bit the hole and active not. Going to the doctor because your frustrated is really sort of like biting -- nose to spite your face it's your health it's gonna -- you need to look big picture here -- -- -- -- I would say is. Educate yourself on what your insurance company will cover what doctors you're allowed to see really become an advocate for your own health care. Journalists at Madison is gone and while that's very good for the pace in a lot of ways what patients need to realize that they need to take more responsibility a little bit more work that's right and unfortunately. It's just something that needs to be done -- -- fight against the -- all you want but. You're not you're doing yourself arm right so accepting it and educating yourself would be a big -- and finding. The right doctor for you -- holding on to your doctor patient relationships or establishing a better relationship with your doctor and the best way to do this is single -- well visits. There's no time when you're there and you the fever and your ill and not feeling well there's no time for a doctor to get to know you. Get to know what you're about what -- it makes -- -- -- without a relationship with your doctor during your well that this you mean. Chit chat about how they did you know get you know the lot of personal level I don't really I I don't really -- -- -- -- I was a little bit of that and I find that patients love doing that with their doctors but unfortunately -- not even that much time right for that anymore wonderful thing if we -- all been spent an hour in the office with and you patients against Canada. But just really. Letting them know what are your concerns what are your health concerns your -- and family history. At -- stresses at home you stresses in life you're back to will be better able to diagnose -- -- they understand you and what makes you tick and that of course is important discuss their frustrations with your doctor absolutely and the more comfortable you feel with your doctor the more likely you are not only to discuss that. Health issues that might be even a little embarrassing to you. -- -- would discuss with your doctor you more likely -- discuss your frustrations and together you might -- able to come up with a solution. As opposed to saying. You know -- an opt out it's a brave new world out there every little got to think what we're. Little bit -- -- and be prepared for your visits if you have fifteen minutes. Come in with your questions come in with your medications come in with what's changed in your health -- coming prepared don't committed to sort of wait for its all unfolds. Can be an advocate takes responsibility. And come in ready for the visit prepared as you would for a meeting and you'll get more out of -- absolutely thank you so much doctor Karen however.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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