Hints from Heloise: New-patient planning

Dear Heloise: I work as a receptionist at a doctor’s office and have some hints for new patients calling to MAKE A FIRST APPOINTMENT:

* Have your health-insurance card (primary and supplemental) in hand so you can give member and group numbers over the phone. This way, insurance can be verified before your visit and copay amount determined, if any.

* If you are not asked, be sure to ask if you can download new-patient forms and bring them with you. A lot of offices now have online forms that you can print and fill out in the comfort of your home, saving time once you arrive at the office.

* Be prepared to give your preferred pharmacy name, address and phone/fax number. More and more prescriptions are done directly from our office to the pharmacy. Rarely are handwritten prescriptions given anymore.

— Jenna S. in Houston

 

PROTECTING APPLIANCES

Dear Readers: A recent column about whether household appliances should have surge protectors generated a lot of reader responses. Here are just a few:

Fred J. in The Villages, Fla., wrote: “Instead of having one surge protector for each appliance, consider calling your electrician to request a single surge protector installed at the point where the power comes into the circuit-breaker panel box. No need to buy a surge protector for each appliance.”

R.J.G. in Thousand Oaks, Calif., wrote: “Over time, these individual protectors wear out and will not work. Of course, you will not know that, and your computer, microwave and anything with a motherboard will fry.”

Sue and Maury H. in Summerfield, Fla., wrote: “Why don’t the appliance manufacturers include surge protectors within their machines when they make them? Slight additional cost, but it should save them a lot of warranty claims and unhappy customers.”

Thank you to all my readers! — Heloise

GIFT WRAP

Dear Heloise: Here is an easy and inexpensive way to wrap a large present: Use a party tablecloth from a dollar store. They come in a variety of colors and prints. The plastic tablecloths are durable and can be reused, since tape can be removed without ripping the plastic.

I used a birthday tablecloth and a fun coordinating printed tablecloth for two large presents I recently wrapped for a birthday party. — S.M., Kent, Ohio