By Dorothy Watson, Mental Wellness Center
Sometimes, it can be challenging to get the healthcare you need or even find a provider who truly listens. This is especially true for members of LGBTQ+ communities, who may struggle to find healthcare providers who take them seriously. Thankfully, organizations like OutCare Health can help you connect with providers who specifically offer LGBTQ+ affirming care. Furthermore, no matter your background, these tips will help you act as your very own healthcare advocate.
Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
First, it’s essential to adopt healthy lifestyle habits! Living a healthier lifestyle will help you focus on preventative care. Your efforts will pay off in the long term, even if it feels like you’re making sacrifices daily to exercise, eat home-cooked meals, and go to bed earlier.
What if your current schedule is too busy to make time for a fitness routine? This doesn’t mean that you have to live a sedentary lifestyle. Instead, try to incorporate more movement into your usual routines by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for walks on your lunch breaks.
Looking for more advice about healthy tips? Check out OutCare Health’s OutTalk Fit & Fab: More Than Just a Trip to the Gym.
Manage Your Medical Records
Providers have your medical records. Although you might have copies of your own, you may not spend much time looking at them. Maybe your copies aren’t even organized! But if you want to advocate for your own health, you’ll want to keep your records in a safe, secure file that you can easily access when necessary. In fact, you can take advantage of a free online tool to conveniently store all of your medical images and x-rays on the same file. All you have to do is upload the images directly from your device, merge them into one file, and then download it.
Find the Right Provider
How can you go about finding a provider who genuinely wants to see you thrive? If you’re a member of LGBTQ+ communities, or you’re from marginalized backgrounds, this can get complicated, but thankfully, there are providers who strive to serve identities who have been discriminated against in the past. To find a provider who is explicitly LGBTQ+ affirming, check out OutCare Health’s OutList directory of LGBTQ+ affirming providers (outcarehealth.org/outlist) and other national directories.
Seek Mental Health Support
Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health! If you’re searching for a therapist, it can take a few times to find someone who you really clique with. Looking for an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist can help you feel comfortable sharing your story. To connect with the right therapist, check out OutCare Health’s OutList directory of LGBTQ+ affirming providers (outcarehealth.org/outlist) and other national directories. Also check out OutCare Health’s OutReach Trans and Nonbinary Community Support Group (outcarehealth.org/outreach).
Review Your Paperwork
Dealing with medical paperwork can get confusing. You might not feel like you truly understand your insurance policy, and you may feel perplexed every time you read over a medical bill. It’s important to read over the fine print of your insurance policy so that you don’t receive unexpected bills. When you do receive a bill, make sure to ask for an itemized version so that you can see exactly what you owe.
Advocating for yourself in healthcare can be difficult. However, with practice, it can get a little bit easier, especially when you’re working with a healthcare provider who truly cares. By taking good care of yourself, keeping your medical records organized, and searching for providers who understand your specific needs, you can begin feeling more comfortable in healthcare settings.
Are you searching for an LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare provider? Turn to OutCare Health for resources! Browse our website today to get connected with healthcare providers in your area.