You’re about to be hospitalized. What do you need to do to receive the best care and reduce your out-of-pocket medical costs? Follow this checklist and you should be in good shape.

  • Confirm the hospital facility is in-network, is preferably one that your primary care doctor recommends and that it has a good safety rating.

  • Make sure you have a Medicare-certified ambulance company number handy. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, find out which ambulance is in the health plan’s network to avoid any surprise costs. Keep this handy for future use.

  • Ask your health care buddy, someone you trust, to accompany you to the hospital and to stay with you.

  • Bring your health care proxy and/or powers of attorney document(s) listing the person who can make health care decisions on your behalf.

  • Get a list of all the providers (doctors and specialists) you will be seeing. Confirm that they are in-network. If a provider is out-of-network, find out what you will be billed before receiving treatment.

  • Print a hard copy list of your medications and your doctors for your wallet and your proxy and/or friend that will accompany you to the hospital. Email the list to yourself as well as to your proxy and/or friend.

  • Bring your current medications, credit card, and items such as pajamas, glasses and hearing aids to make your stay comfortable.

  • Make sure you have a written discharge plan, along with a phone contact at the hospital. Also be sure to schedule your follow-up appointments before you check out, and ask the hospital for a list of any new medications

  • Have someone come and pick you up upon discharge – don’t try taking public transportation or a taxi home!

By Gus Smith

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