Providing a united voice

for people with

chronic diseases and disabilities

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American People

get the most out of your health care

Principles of Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities

How to Bring Out the Best in Your Health Care Team (PDF)

Make Your Health Plan Work for You (PDF)

Get Help Paying for Your Prescriptions

Find Information About Your Medical Condition

Resources for Family Caregivers



It’s your health. You call the shots.


The National Health Council wants you to get the most out of your health care. There’s a lot you can do.


Understand How the Health Care System Works

  1. Know how health care is provided so you can make it work for you. The health care system is changing dramatically and constantly. To get the most out of it, you need to understand how health care is delivered and the role of the patient. There are a number of resources available on the Web to help. Here are two to start with.
    Kaiser Family Foundation
    Brookings Institute
  2. Influence the system. You don't have to accept everything the way it is handed to you. You can influence your treatment, your coverage, and your plan by informing yourself and taking action. Learn how to be an advocate for change by clicking here.

Partner with Your Health Care Providers

  1. Ask questions when you see your health care provider. Keep asking questions until you fully understand. What exactly is my diagnosis? Why this treatment? What are the treatment options? What are the possible side effects of treatments? Will what I need be covered by my health insurance? Use the Ask Three Process to get clear answers.
  2. Exercise your choice of providers. If you are not completely comfortable with a doctor or other health care provider, find another one.
  3. Do your part. Follow mutually developed treatment plans. Keep your provider informed. Live a healthy lifestyle.

Learn About Your Individual Health Care Plan

  1. Know the ground rules of your plan. Learn about coverage parameters, payment decisions, and incentives and restrictions on providers, so you can use your plan fully. Learn how to make your health plan work for you.
  2. Identify which individuals make the decisions about selecting, monitoring, and maintaining your health plan. Give them timely, constructive feedback on your experiences with the plan.


Find Out More About Your Medical Condition

The National Health Council is home to approximately 50 patient advocacy groups that focus on specific chronic diseases and disabilities. You can learn a lot about your condition – treatments, management strategies, the latest research findings – by visiting their websites. Click here