This article is sponsored by Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Utah. Insurance is a complicated thing. If you’ve ever left a doctor’s appointment feeling confused, you’re not alone. Find out how to become a take-charge patient by finding out what to ask your doctor, plus get coverage and high-quality care that fits your life with Regence.

Most people don’t think of the relationship they have with their doctor as an equal partnership, and being afraid to ask questions or to feel like your doctor isn’t listening to you is actually pretty common. That’s why communicating clearly with your doctor is so important to your continuing health. When you visit your doctor, there are some things you really should keep in mind.

01) Ask Your Doctor What They Think It Is

Be prepared, but don’t panic. Bring a written list of questions with you, and do some research before your appointment to learn more about your treatment or condition. Be careful though, sometimes researching on websites can get you scared of symptoms before you visit your doctor. Talk to your doctor about what is actually happening, not what you read on a website.

02) Bring Your Health Plan ID Card and Know Your Prescription Benefits

This can help prevent surprises down the line. Some brand-name medications require prior authorization or only allow limited quantities in order to be covered.

03) Be Complete and Honest About Your Health

Pay attention to the location, duration, and nature of your symptoms. The little things you think are unimportant or even embarrassing can often provide useful clues for your doctor. Your doctor needs the whole picture to determine the best possible treatment.

04) Be Sure Your Doctor is Aware of any Medications You’re Taking

Always tell your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. Yes, this does include any vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies that you take too. And be sure to bring your current prescription information to your doctor’s appointment so your doctor can accurately assess how any medications might work together in your body. Some medication combinations can counteract one another or have undesirable side effects.

05) Tell Your Doctor About Any Allergies or Existing Medical Conditions.

In order to best treat you, your doctor needs to know your family and personal health histories, like histories of diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart attack.

06) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Doctor Questions About Your Treatment or Prescriptions

Always ask your doctor why a treatment or medication is being prescribed, if there are any alternatives, how often and how long to take the medication, and whether there are any side effects.

7) Ask Your Doctor if You Think You Can’t Follow the Recommendations, or if Recommendations Are Unclear

Give your doctor a chance to address your questions. You can also talk to your pharmacist about medications too.

8) Ask Your Doctor if There is a Generic Version of Your Medication

You can sometimes save a bundle if you are able to get generic versions of medications, so be sure to ask before settling on a name brand one. If there isn’t one, ask if there is a cheaper brand-name drug available that would have the same effects. Medications aren’t always cheap, so try asking before you get stuck paying more than you need to.

9) Ask Your Doctor About Expected Results

Ask questions like “how soon before my symptoms will start to subside?”, “when can I expect to feel fully recovered?”, “do I need to take steps to prevent a relapse?” or “will treatment have to be to be on-going?” These kinds of questions not only help your doctor know what kinds of concerns you have, but it also might give you some better piece of mind.

10) Discuss How Your Lifestyle And Habits Are Impacting Your Health.

Ask your doctor if he or she can help you take the first steps to correct bad habits. Are you eating healthy foods? Taking a multivitamin? Getting enough sleep? Exercising? Do you smoke? Let your doctor help steer you in a healthier direction!

Being a more assertive, informed patient is a great step toward better health. While your doctor has medical knowledge and experience, you know your body better than anyone else. Use these tips so that YOU can establish a partnership with your doctor to achieve the same goal: a long and healthy life.