7 things to bring to your first doctor appointment

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You change doctors from time to time. Maybe you just moved into a new area and need a new doctor. Maybe your old doctor retired. Or maybe you simply wanted to make a switch. However it happens, your new doctor is going to need some information to provide you with the best health care possible.

A typical doctor visit lasts only about 15 minutes. This means you’ll want to make the most of your time. You should come to your appointment prepared to talk about your health history and any issues you’re currently having.

Things to bring:

  1. Health history information. You should have information on the health issues that run in your family, your own health issues, and a list of any medications you’re taking and the dosage.
  2. Your health insurance ID card. You have a health plan, right? Don’t forget to use it.
  3. Your copay. If your health plan requires you to make a copayment, bring those funds along with you.
  4. Your driver’s license or other photo ID. Health care providers need to make sure it’s really you before sharing any health information. It’s the law.
  5. A list of any questions for the doctor. This will help ensure you remember to ask all the questions you have about your health. Not sure what to ask? Healthcare.gov has a short video with some tips.
  6. A notebook and a pen to take notes. “I’ll remember. I don’t need to write it down.” This is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. Put pen to paper so you don’t forget.
  7. A friend or family member. Sometimes there’s a lot to remember. Having someone there with you can help make sure you understand and remember everything the doctor tells you.

For help compiling your health history information, you can access a handy PDF document in our online Health Center. On the Health Center page, search on “Medical Appointments” and then click on the link for the Making the Most of Your Appointment article.

These tips should help make your first doctor visit successful. But your health care doesn’t stop there! After your appointment, follow any instructions your doctor gave you, fill any prescriptions needed, and schedule any tests or follow-up appointments. If you have questions or don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to call your doctor. Your doctor is there to help!

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