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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Medical Specialists - Preparing for Your Appointment

Before the visit

Collect the following information before your visit. Take it with you to your appointment.

  • Gather any medical records for previous treatment for the same or a similar problem.
  • Make a list of all prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking.

During the visit

  • State your main problem or reason for your visit.
  • Describe your symptoms.
  • Describe your past experiences with this problem.
  • State how this problem is affecting your life.

After the visit

Write down:

  • What your health professional thinks the problem might be.
  • What you might expect to happen next.
  • What you can do to manage your problem at home.

Questions to ask about medicines, tests, and treatments

  • What is the name of the medicine, test, or treatment?
  • Why is it needed?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are potential side effects?
  • Are there alternatives?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Is the cost of the medicine covered by my insurance?
  • What will happen if I decide not to have treatment?
  • How do I take this medicine?
  • How will this medicine react with other medicines I am taking?
  • How do I prepare for each test or treatment?

Questions to ask at the end of your visit

  • When should I return for another visit?
  • When will test results be available?
    • Should I contact you or will you contact me?
    • Be sure to ask for copies of any test results.
  • Are there any danger signs that I need to look for?
  • What else do I need to know?

For more information, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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