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How to get the most out of your next checkup

According to our latest report on health insurance trends, healthcare needs post-pandemic are evolving. Nowadays, more and more people are seeking regular health check-ups and annual health screenings.

While useful, it can often feel like you may not get the most out of your checkups, especially if you forget to talk to the doctor about a worrying health issue. To avoid this, we at Pacific Prime Hong Kong have put together a few important things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your next health checkup.

Individual Health Insurance Plans

Preparing for a physical exam

It is important that if you have health insurance, you check your plan details to see what is and isn’t covered. For example, some plans may only cover the full cost of one health checkup a year, while others may cover 50-75%. Other plans may cover basic health checkups only, meaning that if you receive an in-depth checkup, it may not be covered by your provider.

Another thing to be aware of is that certain elements of a health checkup, e.g., a mammogram for women under a specific age, may not be covered. By knowing this, you can avoid some potential issues during the appointment.

Beyond that, it would be a good idea to contact your insurer before you book anything beyond a simple checkup. The reason for this is that it is not uncommon for providers in Hong Kong to limit extra benefits like health checkups to only in-network doctors, meaning that you can’t simply go to any doctor to get a checkup and submit a claim. If this is the case, the insurer should be able to advise you on where you can receive care.

This is especially important if you have a trusted family doctor. If they are not in your provider’s network, there could be issues with billing and claims.

How to prepare for an annual physical checkup?

Preparing for an annual physical checkup can help you get the most out of your visit and ensure that any potential health issues are detected and addressed in a timely manner. Here are some tips on what to do before a physical exam:

Write down your concerns: Before your appointment, take some time to think about any health concerns or questions you have. Write these down and bring them with you to your appointment to ensure that you discuss them with your doctor.

Review your medical history: Make sure your doctor has an up-to-date medical history. This includes any surgeries, illnesses, allergies, or medications you may be taking.

Fasting: Some tests, such as a blood test, may require you to fast for a certain period of time before the appointment. Check with your doctor to see if this applies to you.

Hydration: Make sure to drink plenty of water before your appointment. This will help ensure accurate test results and make it easier for your doctor to examine you.

Wear appropriate clothing: Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for easy access to your arms and legs. Avoid wearing heavy jewelry or tight clothing that may interfere with the examination.

Note that the day before your appointment, you will usually get a reminder from the doctor’s office regarding your appointment. The hospital/clinic staff who calls will also remind you of any things you need to do ahead of time or provide instructions on what to avoid before a physical exam. As we noted above, for many in-depth consultations, you may be required to abstain from drinking or eating for a set period of time before the appointment. Be sure to follow these instructions.

When you book your appointment

First things first, make a note of everything you need to check off your annual checkup list. And when you decide it’s time for a checkup, it would be a good idea to book your appointment ahead of time. This will help reduce the chances of waiting and give the office time to prepare any necessary tools or procedures ahead of time.

Whether you book online, in person or over the phone, it would be a good idea to confirm with the office the date and time of your appointment, as well as what you are coming in for. While the quality of English at doctor’s offices in Hong Kong is generally quite high, there is always a chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding that can be avoided by asking for clarification and reconfirming.

If you are going for a full checkup, then it would be a good idea to confirm with the doctor’s office exactly what procedures are involved and if there any requirements, e.g., no eating or drinking for 12 hours before, or whether you need to prepare old health records if you will be seeing a new doctor.

During your appointment

When you do see the doctor, don’t be afraid to ask questions and bring up any concerns, as this is the perfect time to get their opinion and answers. It is also important to ask questions about the procedures. It is common in Hong Kong for nurses and staff to start doing something with little to no explanation of what they are doing and why. While good bedside manner dictates that this should happen, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure.

Another important thing to ask should you be prescribed medicine is whether there are any interactions with drugs or pills (e.g., multivitamins or weight loss pills) you may be taking. In our experience, some doctors are a little lacking in describing this in Hong Kong, which could lead to potential problems down the road. It would also be a good idea to ask how and when medications should be taken.

Finally, be sure to try and get everything in writing. For example, if you are prescribed medication or results show an abnormality, it would be beneficial to have this written down for future doctor visits or if you decide to see a specialist who will likely ask for the information.

Don’t forget your health insurance

While simple health checkups likely won’t be overly expensive, some of the more in-depth ones can be a considerable investment, especially if you go to a private hospital. We strongly recommend securing a health insurance plan that will cover these costs. Talk to the experts at Pacific Prime Hong Kong today. They can help you find an international health insurance plan that not only covers health checkups but also covers care from your primary or preferred physician.

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Content Strategist at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Jessica Lindeman is a Content Strategist at Pacific Prime. She comes to work every day living and breathing the motto of "simplifying insurance", and injects her unbridled enthusiasm for health and insurance related topics into every article and piece of content she creates for Pacific Prime.

When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.
Jess Lindeman