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February is National Wise Health Care Consumer Month, sponsored by the American Institute for Preventive Medicine. This is a time to seek ways to becoming your best health care advocate. In 2012, United States health care spending reaching $2.8 trillion dollars, more than any other industrialized nation. A large portion of that amount is wasteful spending due to factors such as overtreatment, failures in care delivery, and failures in care coordination. The good news is you can make good, proactive decisions that can reduce your health care spending and, most importantly, improve your health.

Do you have affordable health care insurance? Do you regularly visit a doctor you trust? Do you make smart lifestyle choices? Being a wise health consumer means being aware of your health care options and taking active steps to ensure optimal preparedness before an emergency. Simple things you can do this February include:

  • Keep up-to-date medical documents
  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns about medical procedures or medications
  • Have commonly-used medicinal items available in your residence
  • If you have a chronic condition, speak to your doctor regularly about how to best manage it
  • Lead a healthier lifestyle- no smoking, eat more fruits and vegetables, etc.

For more information on how to be a wise health consumer, visit the American Institute for Preventive Medicine site.