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What's a 'second medical opinion' service?
You can probably piece together what a free medical second opinion service is from the words, but it’s important to know what it is, where it fits and how it can help.
A second-opinion service hooks you up with an expert in a relevant medical field so they can review your health situation, whether it’s currently unknown, a new diagnosis or something you’ve been struggling with for some time.
Multiple insurers offer free medical second opinion services as part of their policy perks package. In most cases, second opinion appointments are virtual or by telephone, so there’s added convenience, no travel and minimal waiting.
Some insurers extend the service to a policyholder’s loved ones too - so it’s definitely time to check your policy to see what perks are in there.
Why might I use a second opinion service?
Say you’ve been newly diagnosed with a heart issue. A free medical second opinion service can connect you very quickly to a top cardiologist who’ll answer any questions you have, review your treatment plan and advise on next steps.
Say you’ve had diabetes for several years but feel your treatment plan isn’t 100% optimal and you’re seeking a second medical opinion. You’ll be connected to a leading endocrinologist who’ll review your case and potentially identify new strategies, treatments and next-step-consultations to improve your situation.
Lastly, let’s say you have several symptoms that have your doctors flummoxed, or maybe you’re yet to see the right person (waiting times?) for an official diagnosis. A second medical opinion with a relevant specialist could make the difference in speeding up your diagnosis, referring you onto next stage care, or by recommending lifestyle strategies that could ease symptoms and pain.
All in, a second opinion service can be a stress-breaker. Having a specialist join your team, without the weeks-or-months-long wait, may bring significant relief and maybe even empower you to step back into life with renewed confidence that you’re in the best hands.
Some of the bigger insurers who offer second opinion services have tens of thousands of specialist consultants on their books and, with that, they’re able to cover all conceivable conditions.
In other words, there’s an expert out there waiting for you, whatever your situation.
It should also be said that using a second opinion medical service doesn’t mean questioning or undermining your current team but simply adding another brain and specialism to the mix.
Several insurers actually coordinate second opinion consultations through a GP in order to ensure a joined-up journey, where any conversations are known to all relevant parties and not happening off to the side.
So the service can easily fold into your current treatment regime, with medical notes updated for all concerned. The aim is to shed as much light as possible on your health and situation and additional expertise as part of that can only be a plus.
How do I book one?
The first step is to understand if you have a free medical second opinion service as part of your policy. To do that you can check your paperwork or, better yet, call LifeSearch on 0800 316 7253 and we’ll advise.
Assuming that second medical opinion is one of your policy perks, the next step will depend on your insurer and how they run the service. It may be organised through a Customer Care telephone team, or it might be an online booking service.
Either way, services are easy and straightforward to access and generally aim to connect customers to answers as soon as possible.
We all know what’s happening with the health service at the moment, so a free service that accelerates you towards experts, answers and potentially relief .. it has to be a good thing.
A ‘Searcher since 2015, John is a Protection expert having worked in our customer facing teams and best practice teams, and now is immersed in Protection Content and Marketing.See all articles by John Rogers
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