Teaching Teens to Navigate the Healthcare System
To become savvy consumers of an increasingly complex healthcare system, teens need to fully understand what healthcare entails. It's clear we need to teach our children about the healthcare system. But how, and when, should the lessons start?
James Farrow, MD, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Tulane University in New Orleans, believes that beginning with a child's annual check-up around age 12, parents and physicians should discuss with the child their expectations for regular follow-up visits.
Dr. Farrow says parents should also sit down with their teens to explain their family's health insurance coverage and to review with them any healthcare education materials supplied by their insurer. Often, the healthcare system is confusing and doesn't give new consumers of healthcare a chance to become comfortable with the system, Dr. Farrow says, so parents must take an active role in educating their kids.
Last reviewedDecember 2011by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.