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  • Cameron Oglesby

Does it pay to get a second opinion?

For surgery or a major procedure, it certainly does.

At best, it can give you another perspective or more options. At worst, it can give you some reassurance about the first opinion.

The question is, if your current doctor has recommended a surgical, major diagnostic, or therapeutic procedure, how do you pay for it?

Well, if you're on Medicare, they'll take care of it.

If you're covered by original Medicare, they'll pay 80% of the costs. In fact, they'll even pay 80% for a third opinion should the first two differ. Most Medicare Advantage Plans cover second opinions, too.

If you're on original Medicare, you can pick any participating physician, without a referral from your primary physician. If you're in an Advantage Plan, you may have to get a referral from your primary physician, and you may have to see a doctor in their network.

The easiest way to find a second doctor is to ask your current physician for a few names, but it may not be the best. That's because group practices can be set in their ways, and you'll just get the same opinion. So you might want to ask another doctor you trust or find a physician on your own.

If you do choose to find one on your own, you can use Medicare's Care Compare tool to find doctors by name and medical specialty who take Medicare reimbursement. If you're enrolled in an Advantage Plan, you'll find a list of doctors on their website. Either way, once you've gotten the names, you can go to a website like Vitals.com or HealthGrades.com to check them out.

And don't forget to ask your current doctor to send the second doctor your test results (unless you want to take them again).

We at Senior Insights can't give you a second opinion, but we can accompany you to doctor appointments, make sure your doctors know about any health changes that our weekly monitoring discovered, and then make sure your caregivers and family know all about your doctors' latest recommendations. We can also provide access to anything from nurses or nursing aides, nutritional services, safety equipment installations in your home, and referrals for physical, occupational therapy, driver, and wheelchair services.

But what makes us different from other senior care management agencies is that first we conduct a thorough assessment to find out what your unique needs are – not just the health needs, but your home safety needs, mobility needs, schedule, hobbies, interests, activities, values, and social life.

To find out a difference that can make, please contact us. Or check out the reviews elsewhere on our site for some honest second opinions.

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