Learn how your health insurance works.
How much do you know about your health insurance? Do you know the name of your provider (the insurance company) and the name of the subscriber (the person in your family who pays for the insurance)? If not, arm yourself with information. Ask your parents for these details and while you’re at it, find out how copayments and referrals to specialists are handled. Even if you don’t understand everything you hear, it’s a good idea to start having these kinds of conversations. As you get older, you’ll need to consider what you’ll do for insurance once you’re no longer eligible to stay on your parent’s policy. Visit the Access to Care guide on the Arthritis Foundation website for more information about access to medications and insurance coverage. In the meantime, just make sure to carry your health insurance card (or a photocopy) with you at all times.
Live a healthy lifestyle.
JA aside, a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. Have fun with dance, sports and other physical activities (and don’t forget about the doctor-prescribed ones, too). Watch your diet to make sure it’s well-balanced, nutritious, and low on junk foods. And get enough sleep—about nine hours per night for teens.
Prepare for emergencies.
Always carry important information with you. That includes:
• your health insurance card, or a photocopy,
• your parents’ phone numbers,
• your doctors’ phone numbers,
• a list of medications you take, and
• a list of allergies you have.
An emergency isn’t likely to happen, but when you plan ahead, there’s a lot less to worry about.
Find out about support resources.
Ask your doctors about local support groups for teens with JA. You can also find out about support groups by researching online or calling a local hospital. If you need help at school, consider working to get a 504 Plan in place, with help from teachers, administrators and your parents. (These plans help students when they need equipment or other accommodations.)
If you’re leaving for college soon, you can seek out support ahead of time by contacting campus disabled student services. Ask any questions you may have about campus life. For example, check out housing options and find out whether dorm rooms on upper floors are accessible by elevator. You can also seek support after you’re on campus. If you need help, disabled students services can offer counseling, referrals to campus and community resources, test-taking assistance and other programs.
Don’t feel awkward about asking for accommodations as a college student. When you have JA, you have legal rights to accommodations that protect you from discrimination.
Page 1 | 2