Making the Most of Office Visits

The Grove Staff
Monday, May 27, 2019
office visit

Maybe this has happened to you. You arrive early for your doctor's visit. Once you enter the exam room, the doctor moves quickly through a battery of tests. You're out the door before you know it, and you still have questions you didn't ask. What just happened?

Providers today make efficient use of the time they spend with each patient. Your office visit may be completed within 15 minutes or less. You need to prepare for your doctor's visit before you get there to make sure you get what you need. The more you know about what to expect, the more you'll get from your visit.

Your care partner is standing by

Most people select a primary care provider, or PCP, when they complete their enrollment form. If you don't select a PCP on your enrollment form, one will be assigned to you. Your Premera Medicare Advantage identification card shows your assigned PCP. This provider gets to know you and works with you to manage your health.

There are many advantages to having a PCP. In most cases, they manage your care themselves, making sure you receive the care you need when you need it. They also obtain pre-approval for you for any procedures they perform that need approval.

Please note: If you go to an out-of-network provider, you're responsible for the cost of the procedure, if it is not authorized in advance. If you see an out-of-network provider, it's up to you to make sure they line up the pre-approval.

Seeing your PCP is generally easier on the pocketbook than seeing a specialist. When a specialist is needed, your PCP handles referrals and sends your medical record to the specialist.

If you want to make a PCP change, call Customer Service at 888-850-8526 (TTY: 711), seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can also use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a PCP that's best for you.

Your wellness is in your hands

One of the most important steps you can take every year is to schedule your free, enhanced Annual Wellness Visit. Your first visit gives you and your provider a baseline level for managing your care in the future.

The Annual Wellness Visit is designed to help you create a comprehensive health protection plan each year. These are some of the great things included with your Annual Wellness Visit:

  • Review of your medical history, current medications and treatment plans
  • Lifesaving screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, colon and other cancers
  • Discussion of age-related concerns, such as memory loss, balance and fall protection
  • Lab work as needed (you may pay for part of the cost of some lab tests your doctor runs)

During your Annual Wellness Visit, be sure to ask your doctor if it's time to get immunizations for flu and pneumonia.

More tips for a smooth visit

Follow these tips for getting the most from your next doctor's visit:

  • Arrive 15 minutes ahead of your appointment, so you have time to complete paperwork the office staff gives you
  • Come to the appointment with a list of all your prescriptions and dosages
  • Write down your questions in advance and show them to your doctor
  • If you're facing a serious health issue, bring a friend or family member with you to take notes

If your doctor is unavailable when you need care, call the 24/7 Nurse Line. A registered nurse can help decide if you need to go the urgent care or if you can wait until the next day to see your doctor. You can reach the 24/7 Nurse Line at 855-339-8123.

Be sure to call 911 or go to the emergency room in the case of a life-threatening condition such as a heart attack or stroke.

Remember, we're here to help you get the care you need. Call Customer Service at
888-850-8526 (TTY: 711) if you have questions.

Premera Blue Cross is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Premera Blue Cross depends on contract renewal. The formulary, pharmacy network and provider network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary. Members must continue to pay Medicare Part B premiums.

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