Managing Your Medical Care: Leading Up to Graduation
When you graduate high school, several issues regarding your health will emerge. You will need an adult doctor, rather than a pediatrician. Your new doctor will be better able to assist you with the unique challenges you face as an adult. Think about which kinds of doctors you need: will you need only a primary care physician? Will you need a psychiatrist? Ask your pediatrician to suggest doctors in your vicinity, and set up one or a few appointments with these doctors.
If you’re moving to a new place, you will have to search for and make appointments with entirely new doctors. See if you like these doctors – fit is important when finding a new provider, especially if he or she is providing mental health support. Think about what sort of manner you prefer before scheduling appointments.
You will also have to think about what insurance you will use: you can stay on your parents’ insurance, use a plan offered by your college, or a plan offered by an employer. Regardless, become familiar with your insurance plan and where it is accepted. Meeting up with a doctor to see whether he or she is the right fit is likely not covered by your insurance.
Regardless of whether you move, stay in your home, and find work immediately or go to college after high school, you will have to adjust to dealing with your own physical and mental health. It is really helpful to have adequate support as you progress into adulthood in order to be independent and healthy, both physically and mentally.
Remember that even as you move toward greater independence and are taking more responsibility for caring for yourself, your family and former doctors and health care providers are still there to offer guidance and support if needed.
For more information on transitioning care see this excellent and thorough report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.