Should I Get a Second Opinion?

Should I Get a Second Opinion?

A second opinion may bring peace of mind when there’s a lot at stake for Solo Moms

Second opinions are a good idea for various reasons and circumstances, but for Solo Moms who often have limited time and money, just getting to the doctor can be difficult. Additionally, Solo Moms are often the primary and only caretaker for their children, and there can be incredible pressure to make the right choices and decisions. A second opinion can help guide those choices.

Why is a second opinion important?

According to a 2014 study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 1 in 20 Americans is subjected to diagnostic errors. Some of these misdiagnoses may have potentially life-threatening consequences. So depending on the original diagnosis, it may be worth the time and money to get a second opinion. Whether it is you or your child who is ill, if you feel like the doctor hasn’t heard you or if the diagnosis is serious, consider a second opinion.

What health conditions should I get a second opinion for?

Second opinions usually are used to consider different courses of treatment. For instance, your child is diagnosed with a health condition, and your doctor recommends a certain course of treatment. After you go home and do some research, you discover several courses of action your doctor could have prescribed. Maybe your child’s other parent does the research and now disagrees with the original treatment plan. Asking for a second opinion may clear up your choices and get all parents on the same page. It may also give your physician an opportunity to explain why he or she chose that particular course of treatment over the other options.

How do I get a second opinion?

The best place to start is with your or your child’s current physician, depending on which of you is ill. If the physician becomes defensive or angry, you definitely will want to get a second opinion—and a new physician! By asking the doctor for a recommendation, you can ensure that your or your child’s records will be available to the new doctor and that the two offices will communicate with each other. If the second opinion is for your child and you have good communication with your child’s other parent, enlist him or her in the search. But whether or not the other parent is on board, if your gut tells you that something isn’t being addressed with your child’s health, get a second opinion.

Will my insurance cover a second opinion?

Check with your insurance company to be sure the second opinion is covered. Many insurance companies cover second opinions because it saves them money on unnecessary procedures. Medicare covers a second opinion for nonemergency surgeries and will pay for a third opinion when the first and second opinions differ. Most insurance companies require a referral from your primary physician, and you may need to fill out an authorization form.

Solo Moms often shoulder the responsibility of child care on their own. Their own health takes a backseat, and getting to the doctor can require serious scheduling. But in certain cases, getting a second opinion for either yourself or your child is prudent. It may save you time and money, and give you reassurance that you are making the right decisions.

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Julia Liu is the daughter of a Solo Mom and has a degree in professional communication. She is the mom to two sons. She has worked in early-childhood education and was the director of a nonprofit private preschool for many years. You can follow her on Twitter at @notaDNB1.

Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.

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