This PCS came upon us so suddenly that I was scrambling to get some dental and family care appointments done. I had been pacing these visits out so that our portion of the commute and cost could be spread out over a few months. But we don’t have a few months to get these things done! I even had to work in a 2 hour MRI for myself.
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We had filling and caps to be done by the dentist. I ended up not getting my crown done because it is a nearly 3 week process to do. We needed to drag the crew in to get our flu shots done so that we weren’t driving across this great country risking that horrible experience! Driving for hours in the car with sick kids is not exactly fun.
This all brings to mind some suggestions about medical records:
~ I would suggest you always grab a copy of the shot records and scan them into your computer. Paper is notorious for getting destroyed or lost. By keeping records in a computer or cloud, you always have them to print when you arrive at your next duty station. We have found out the hard way that not all military treatment facilities use the same computer tracking system. To avoid making kids angry with unnecessary shots, keep these records carefully for yourself.
~ the same goes for dental records. Since the family members deal with civilian dentists, find out what records you can carry yourself and make copies.
~ I also call ahead to the next military base to find out where we will be sent for medical treatment. Every base is different. Some bases can’t handle the volume of dependents, so we can choose where we go on the civilian side. Having your own copy of of the records helps those first doctor visits go smoothly.
~ I also call ahead to dentist options near the new rental house to find out what records they are willing to accept and which they aren’t. Sometimes a new dentist will require new dental x-rays.
~ Call the contracted military health insurance to find out if there are restrictions or regulations governing where you are going. An overseas assignment may mean more or less medical coverage than a stateside base offers.
~ I also make sure I have scanned the most recent vision prescriptions. Most of our family wear glasses, so we have to keep up on annual eye exams and when the last pair of glasses were purchased. It is extremely helpful to have these records on hand as you move around the country. A word of caution when you are looking for a new optometrist. If you are getting fitted for contacts, ask ahead for the contact fitting fee! The eye exam is covered by military health insurance, but many of the optometrists in the DC area charged over $200 for a contact fitting fee. It was their way of making up for the small exam fee our insurance paid. Those hidden fees can add up quick!
~ Make sure you have a copy of any active RX that you are taking. Those will need to be cataloged by the new doctor and tracked for future coverage.
What advice would you give to families moving about the country? What has worked for you when it comes to transferring your medical coverage to a new doctor?
This is part of a blogging series Planning a Military Move.