You realize you need to see a doctor – whether for your annual wellness visit or to check on something specific. What do you do? You make an appointment. The first thing you need to do to make sure you save money when you visit the doctor is to choose a doctor that’s in your healthcare network.
The second is to ask yourself these five questions before you make the appointment – the answers could help you save money and time.
- Is it urgent? If not, you’ll have more flexibility to have an appointment time before the schedule fills up. If you are calling to schedule your annual wellness exam, make sure to mention that upfront to avoid extra costs.
- How many concerns do you have? If it’s more than one, the scheduler may be able to give you a longer block of time with the doctor. One extended visit can save you time because you don’t have to take another day to take the time to get to the office, wait and see the doctor again. And you may save money because multiple visits may cost you more money. Of course, having the appropriate amount of time with your doctor means your doctor can help you get the right care you need at the right time.
- Do you only need prescription refills? Mention that. You may not need an appointment at all, which saves you time and a copay.
- Do you have a special need? Special needs can include wheelchair access, a sign-language interpreter or an English translator? If you’re bringing someone to help you, let the office know. They can make any necessary plans to help you, so you spend less time explaining what the need is and more time with the doctor.
- Is it OK with you to meet with someone other than the doctor? Say so. Usually, the scheduler knows if meeting with a nurse can address your concerns. This could save you time by getting an appointment faster, perhaps waiting less time in the waiting room, and may save you money because seeing a nurse may cost less than seeing a doctor.
Psst, don’t say we told you, but here are some tips directly from the doctor’s schedulers!
- The first slot in the morning or first slot after lunch have the shortest wait times.
- Avoid Mondays and Fridays. Mondays have a lot of walk-in patients or people who had something happen over the weekend. Fridays often include lots of youngsters whose parents take the day off to knock out appointments.
- Avoid the first few days after a major holiday if you can – they are the busiest days of the year for doctors!
- Ask about the cancellation policy. You may end up getting charged if you are late or cancel last minute.
- Once you have your appointment, take a few moments to prepare.