First Health Care Center Visit As An Adult? What You Should Bring

What should you bring with you to a health care center appointment? Are you a new college grad or a young adult who needs to go to their first medical facility visit without a parent? Take a look at what you need to know about the documents, electronic files, cards, and other items you may need to bring to the center.

Insurance Information

Your health insurance card is a must-have for any health-related appointment. Young adults can remain on their parents' insurance plan until they turn 26 even if they don't live with them, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This means you may still use your parents' insurance, depending on your age.

If you do use your family's plan, ask your parent for a copy of your insurance card. This card should have your name printed on it. You may also need to provide the medical center staff with information on the policyholder (your parent), such as their birth date, employer's name, or social security number. Ask your parent for these details before your appointment.

Young adults who have their own insurance coverage through an employer or a private plan will also need to bring their card. But you will not need to provide your parent's information to verify coverage. As the primary policyholder, you will only need to provide your birth date, social security number, or other personal coverage-related details.

Copay or Coinsurance Payments

Does your (or your parents') insurance plan have a copay or coinsurance amount that the medical center requires at the time of service? If you can't answer this question right now, contact your insurer and the medical center. Some plans may not have copays or may not require copays for certain preventive services.

Ask the medical center's staff about the types of payments they accept (such as cash, personal checks, or credit/debit cards). This can help you to plan your visit.

Medical Records

Your new doctor won't automatically have access to your past medical records. But this information can help the medical provider to better understand your healthcare needs. Contact your pediatrician before your doctor's office visit. You may need to fill out privacy-related paperwork or sign a document before your former pediatrician can forward anything to your new primary care physician.

Some medical facilities provide patients with access to online accounts or healthcare apps. If your pediatrician or former doctor/health system used an electronic record-keeping system that patients can log into, talk to the office staff about the procedure and privacy policy regulations regarding sharing and transferring this information. They may ask you to contact your ex-provider for paper records or a secure official electronic copy of your file instead of relying on an app on your phone. 

Call your health care center to find out if you need to prepare anything else before your visit.