Second Opinions

Sharing your case with multiple providers is one of the best ways to verify a diagnosis, glean more information, and build your confidence about an upcoming procedure or long-term course of action. Why? Because sometimes it takes a village. Keep these two facts in mind:

  1. Even the best providers are fallible. They may have a blindspot or miss something another won’t. 
  2. Even given a similar conclusion, not all experts will have the same advice. 

By way of example, let’s say you go for a second opinion about a back injury. Your primary doctor diagnosed you with XYZ and suggested surgery. When you see the second doctor, she checks you out and says the same thing your primary did: “No way around it I’m afraid. This is a textbook XYZ diagnosis.” But what she goes on to say is interesting. Because she’s actually strongly opposed to surgery for a reason your primary doctor didn’t bring up — a reason that makes a lot of sense to you now that you’re hearing it. 

Second opinions are an important part of the healthcare process, and please understand this: you are entitled to them. There’s no reason to feel bad for consulting more than one medical expert. Even when providers share diagnoses, it’s not a bad idea to hear how different providers would approach your case. 

If every provider you visit says basically the same thing, that should help validate the course of action. Hopefully. It will help you gain confidence to make the appropriate healthcare decision before you. In terms of care, you can simply choose to go with the provider you resonate with most. 

On the other hand, if you hear a bunch of conflicting opinions, that’s a good reason to hit pause for a moment. From there, you can pursue further opinions and education from medical experts with the intention of building a bigger picture of the prevailing medical beliefs, prognoses, and considerations surrounding your condition or case.

What to Do When Your Plan Doesn’t Cover Second Opinions

Sometimes health insurance companies make it difficult to get a second opinion by neglecting to cover these visits. This is frustrating, as not getting a second opinion on, say, a cancer diagnosis would actually be pretty reckless behavior. 

Still, every provider does have out-of-pocket fee schedules. You can schedule an out-of-network second opinion for what typically amounts to $100-1000. While it may be expensive, you owe it to yourself to be 100% confident when it comes to big (not to mention far more expensive) medical decisions such as proposed surgeries, long-term courses of medication, or major lifestyle adjustments.  

Need Help Locating a Provider?

Second opinions help keep us safe and informed throughout our healthcare journeys. Whether you need a second, third, or thirteenth opinion, we’re proud of you for taking your health seriously. 

Browse our directory of community-nominated providers by service to check information, coverage, and availability.

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