Learn more about your choices and rights as a health care consumer in February

When: February 1-28

What: The year has just started and it’s already one of the worst cold and flu seasons since 2009. But washing hands and covering coughs will only go so far before a trip to the doctor is necessary. Know what to expect from your health care in February during Wise Health Care Consumer Month.

Background: Wise Health Care Consumer Month was established by the American Institute for Preventative medicine to help health care consumers take the mystery out of tasks like choosing a provider and negotiating costs. All of this is done in an effort to control increasing health care costs.

Story Pitch: This month-long event and its focus on health care and cost is a good opportunity for health insurance companies and employers. Health insurance companies can provide comprehensive guides and tips to current and potential customers on how to best use current insurance plans. Employers can team up with local health care providers and wellness experts to offer employee workshops on preventative medicine. Meanwhile, drug store and grocery store pharmacies may want to advertise their services and hold informational events to discuss the cost of medications.

Story Hook:  Elements of the Affordable Care Act, which puts into place strong consumer protections, are being phased into the U.S. health care system over the next several years. What should people be prepared for? Keep the following in mind when making your pitch:

  • What is the best way to decide when an emergency room visit is necessary?
  • What are basic preventative measures and self-care steps people can take every day?
  • What are some of the best ways to shop for insurance?
  • What medical charges are often up for negotiation or are often incorrect?

Tips: Be sure to provide contact information for an expert on insurance and medical care cost, such as an industry analyst or doctor. An informed consumer may also be a good person to talk to about their health care decisions.

Resources:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
(301) 427-1364
www.ahrq.gov

American Institute for Preventative Medicine
aipm(at)healthylife.com
(248) 539-1800
www.healthylife.com/wise

HealthCare.gov
(877) 696-6775
www.healthcare.gov

MedlinePlus
(301) 594-5983
www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

–Researched, compiled & written by Nicholas Testa
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events