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At the moment, our healthcare system can be confusing and intimidating. People do not know who to trust, where to find good doctors, and the pricing of services hinders the quality of procedures needed in most cases.

Now is the time to begin taking an active role in your healthcare! By taking control of your health, it may help your physicians evaluate your health condition(s), reduce the chance of medical errors, and build up your confidence when in need of a medical treatment or surgery.

First and foremost, you must plan ahead to make the most of any visit you may encounter with a doctor or hospital. You should make a list of all medications (including prescriptions, over the counter drugs, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs) you are currently taking. Incorporate when and how often you take them, the condition in which you are taking them for, and the strength of the medication. You should also record any allergies you have in dark bold letters.

Second, you should write down and keep an updated list of your health history by including surgeries, major illnesses or conditions. Third, include where you have received medical treatment(s), tests, or x-rays. Fourth, keep a log of questions you may have for your doctor.

When at a consultation, make sure you ask questions if you do not understand, avoid distractions when the physician is speaking to you by turning off your cell phone, ask a family member or friend to accompany you to your appointment to give you some support and so they can help you remember what was said during the visit,  show the physician your list of medications and medical history, take notes or ask for written instructions to help further explain something important to you, and agree on a follow-up plan before you leave.

Lastly, it is wise to have an annually updated living will to make sure your healthcare wishes are known in case of any reason you are unable to speak for yourself. For more information you may contact Member Services at 1-866-227-5400 www.hccua.org.

As a HCCUA member you are at liberty to use InteractiveMD, which is an affordable solution to the challenge of healthcare access. InteractiveMD provides users with round the clock access to licensed physicians. Whether on the go, traveling or outside of your primary care provider’s office hours, iMD doctors can help with a wide range of common health conditions by offering advice, ordering lab tests or generating prescriptions when appropriate.

You will find attached to your HCCUA e-Newsletter an article about the mineral supplement Magnesium and how it plays an important part in keeping a healthy heart, making sure your bones are strong, and helping your body absorb other important minerals such as calcium and potassium. In addition, take some time to make your own pizza.  We chose a Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage Pizza inspired recipe from the Foodnetwork.com but you can add or create any style you like with family or friends.

Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications,

Affordable Health Insurance - iCan