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Good health starts with good questions. Following your health care provider’s advice is an important part of living well—but so is asking questions. The right questions can help you and your provider make the best decisions for your health. It’s a great way to feel better and enjoy peace of mind.

Use these 5 questions to start a conversation with your provider about which tests and treatments you need—and which you don’t—so that you receive the care that’s right for you!

1. Do I really need this test or procedure? 

Medical tests help you and your doctor or other health care provider decide how to treat a problem. And medical procedures help to actually treat it.

2. What are the risks? 

Will there be side effects? What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing or another procedure?

3. Are there simpler, safer options? 

Sometimes all you need to do is make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods or exercising more.

4. What happens if I don’t do anything? 

Ask if your condition might get worse—or better—if you don’t have the test or procedure right away.

5. How much does it cost? 

Ask if there are less-expensive tests, treatments or procedures; what your insurance may cover; and about generic medications instead of brand-name medications.


Cost of tests and procedures can also vary by provider—shop around for the highest quality, lowest cost provider by using the Find a Doctor tool on our website.

To learn more about the questions to ask your PCP, click here. Also, view the Appropriate Care Guide for help in choosing the care that's right for you.

5 Questions created by Consumer Reports for the Choosing Wisely® campaign

The State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees is a Consumer Reports partner on the Choosing Wisely® campaign.