You walk into the doctor’s office. The receptionist asks you for the name and birthday of the person who has the appointment …… and your mind goes blank. I mean, You Got – You and/or the Kids, or Elderly Parents, or Whomever, there – And On Time! Now you need to give information?
Even after you give their name and birthday then you need to remember if the insurance has changed since the last visit. Then you must make out the “Why are you here today? What do we need to know?” paperwork to give the nurse.
Are there any allergies? What medications have been prescribed? Has your child or parent been to the hospital recently or seen a specialist since the last visit? Dear God! Did I even remember to bring the insurance card? Or worse …. if dad is bringing the child, did I remember to give the card to Dad?
This happens at doctor’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies, dentist, specialist’s offices, every place you need insurance. After several years of fumbling with insurance cards and trying to remember information or relay information to my husband to give the doctor, I finally came up with a way to give all the basic information to the receptionist all at once, even if I forgot the insurance card.
1. Have the Card Ready
(if you remembered it)
When I get to wherever insurance will be required I pull out the card and have it ready. Regardless if they need it or not, they are going to get the card. I have no idea if our insurance has changed since the last visit, I don’t remember the last visit. I’m lucky if I remember breakfast.
2. Write their Birthday On the Card
Every person gets a card with their name on it. Write their birthday below their name.
Even if your child’s name is ‘Jane Doe’ someone won’t know how to spell it properly. Hand them the card and say “Birthday and Spelling of their name is right here!” and point to it.
3. Write any Medications and Allergies On the Card
The doctor’s office typically has a list of allergies and medications, but the hospital, dentist, pharmacy, specialists probably won’t. So Find a Big Blank Empty Area on the card and Write all Medications and Allergies! This also works if your child has secondary insurance, like SSD – write those numbers on there also. One less card you need to pull out (if SSD even sent you a card.)
This is also wonderful if the child’s father or a grandparent is with the child. Nana probably isn’t going to remember which grandchild takes which meds.
IMPORTANT: Medications change from time to time. Remember to keep white labels on hand to cover old information and add new information.
4. Take a Picture of both sides of the Insurance Card
You probably carry the insurance cards with you, but what if you forget to give it to Dad? Or if grandparents have your child and something happens – the fastest way to get the card to the people who need it along with all the important Birthday, Medication and Allergy information, is to Text a Picture of the Card to whomever has the child.
IMPORTANT: Do this every time the information changes!
#4 is something you should do right after you write the birthday, allergies, medication and any other medical information on the card or whenever information changes. Take the picture right then! And if you have just changed the information and are taking a new picture, make sure you delete the Old Picture. Don’t wait for an emergency. During the emergency you don’t want to think about insurance cards. You don’t want to have to come up with medications or allergies and hope it gets relayed over the phone through a 3rd party. If your child has an allergy to something or takes a medication that can be dangerous if mixed with another medication you need to have that information ready to go. Having an updated image of the insurance card on your phone with all important information and ready to text to Grandma can save your child’s life.
A little story to show how important this information is, at a time when I didn’t expect I’d need it.
Once upon a time I helped care for some dear elderly friends. These friends had 3 wonderful sons who couldn’t always take their parents to the doctor or help them run errands, so I helped out.
One day their mom collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Since I lived closest to the hospital I arrived first. I was able to hand the medical staff my phone with pictures of the insurance cards, a list of her diagnosis, medications and her birthday. Sure the hospital could have waited for the insurance information and the birthday, but the doctors had to act fast to save her life. Having a list of diagnosis and medications helped get my dear friend the care she needed without any delays.
So don’t wait. Grab the insurance cards and do it now!
….. and don’t forgot to pick up some white blank labels. In case the information changes!