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How to make better health care choices

Posted on November 25, 2012
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Choose wisely

Think you need an EKG as part of your annual exam? How about getting an MRI or CT scan for your headaches? Or antibiotics for that sinus infection that's bugging you?

While these tests and treatments are commonly prescribed, they're also frequently overused and not needed.  By one estimate, up to one-third of U.S. health-care spending goes for unneeded medical services. 

It's not just wasteful; it can also be personally risky to your health. For example, unnecessary CT scans and X-rays expose you to potentially cancer-causing radiation.

Union Plus is collaborating with Consumer Reports to bring union members, retirees and their families empowering health-care information that will make you a better informed consumer of treatments and procedures.  Choosing Wisely is a campaign intended to help doctors and patients avoid needless and even harmful procedures. The site provides easy to understand reports on bone density, heartburn, Pap tests, back pain, allergy testing and more.

It began with nine respected medical societies representing nearly 375,000 U.S. physicians compiling data on avoidable procedures. Then Consumer Reports created a series of free patient-oriented reports based on this information.  You can read these reports online, print those of interest, or download them to your computer, smartphone or tablet. You're also urged to talk with your doctor when he or she orders one of these overused procedures.

In addition, ConsumerHealthChoices provides free money-saving guides and helpful videos including information on best buy drugs.

As a provider of health discount programs, Union Plus also offers a discounted subscription to exclusively for union members, retirees and their families.

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