Get the Most Out of Your Health Insurance

Navigating Next Steps After a Serious Diagnosis

February 23, 2023

Processing a serious health diagnosis, like a disease or chronic condition, is tough enough. Figuring out who to call, where to find information, what will be covered, and, overall, how to navigate your health insurance should not be an added layer of concern.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is here to help. It’s part of our mission to inspire health and make it easy.

We put together a guide of six immediate steps you can take to connect you with the care and support you need when you need it most. Lean on this list so you can focus on your health.

Next steps after a diagnosis:

Understand that a new diagnosis is a challenge and stressful for everyone

  • Coping with a serious diagnosis is challenging. It is normal to feel afraid, angry, or overwhelmed. Take a deep breath or practice mindfulness to reduce anxiety and stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some helpful tips on lowering stress levels: Coping with Stress (
  • Identify the people in your life, like family or friends, who need to know about the diagnosis and determine how much you want to share with them. If possible, bring this person(s) to your appointments.

Learn about your condition and recommended strategies to manage and/or treat it

  • Write down the questions you have about your diagnosis, disease management strategies, and treatment options.
  • Keep track of all medications and supplements you take and show this to your healthcare provider(s).
  • Work with your healthcare team to get answers to your questions and referrals to other specialists, like mental health providers, social workers, or nutritionists, who can support your care.
  • Learn as much as you can from reliable sources like the CDC and national disease associations like the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, or the American Cancer Society

Form a team

  • Bring a friend or family member with you to appointments to help take notes and ask questions. A lot of times, the information you get at your appointments can feel overwhelming. A supportive friend or family member can be a second set of ears to take in information and advocate on your behalf.

Find a disease self-management program

  • Self-management education (SME) programs can empower you to take control and live life to the fullest. Among the many benefits of SME programs, they help you learn ways to feel better and reduce stress.
  • Programs are offered for a variety of health conditions: Self-Management Education: Learn More. Feel Better. | CDC

Become familiar with your insurance benefits

  • Check that you have an active health insurance plan.
  • Call the number on the back of your insurance card to get an understanding of your benefits or for any questions about your coverage.
  • If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona member, log in to your member portal at to get cost estimates for healthcare services and medications or to find a doctor, hospital, or facility near you.
  • Get set up with a care manager. These team members work at your health insurance plan and can help you navigate care, understand your benefits, and identify additional support needs and resources. You can call the number on the back of your card and ask to be referred to a care manager.
  • Use the BCBSAZ Clinical Rapid Response Team if you are experiencing barriers to timely diagnostic or treatment procedures for a condition like cancer, MS, or ALS. This team can help accelerate pre-authorizations and access to specialty care in situations when delays in these services could be detrimental.

Know that you’re not alone

  • There are many community organizations, peer support groups, and mental health providers who can support you through this experience.

Getting a serious diagnosis can be one of the most difficult things a person experiences, but there are tools and resources available to help you. These steps can help you get your questions answered, find the right care, and better address your condition with a support system in place.


This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.