A primary care doctor provides routine care and recommends other physicians when you have a specific health condition or illness. Not only does a primary care physician advocate for your health, but they also maintain your health record and ensure your family receives the care they need.
Besides, your family’s primary care doctor is your partner for preventive care, emergency treatment, medical therapies, and referrals to a specialist. A primary care doctor is a general or family practitioner, an internist for adults, or a pediatrician for children and adolescents. The question is: how to choose a doctor for your family and insurance. Here are a few tips!
Perform Thorough Research
Performing thorough research can help you make an informed decision when choosing a primary care doctor for your family and insurance. If you have health insurance and want to choose a doctor to lower your health costs, make sure your health insurance plan covers the doctor.
Some insurance plans allow people to work with primary care physicians out of the network. However, it can lead to higher costs. On the other hand, you have to discuss the out-of-pocket costs with your prospective doctor if you don’t have an insurance plan.
That way, you will know whether you can afford the cost of office visits. In addition, answer the following questions to narrow down your results and make an educated and informed decision about choosing a primary care doctor.
- Do I want one doctor for the entire family?
- Am I looking for an internist for adult family members?
- Am I looking for a pediatrician for my children?
- Do I want the doctor’s office near my home or work?
- Am I looking for a family practitioner or a specialist focusing on a specific condition?
- Do I Prefer a male or female health professional?
- Am I looking for a physician who offers morning, evening, or weekend appointments?
Ask for Referrals and Recommendations
In addition to performing thorough research, it is crucial to ask for referrals and recommendations from your family members, friends, colleagues, or relatives. The word-of-mouth recommendations are still an effective source of information you can use to find a primary care physician for your family and health insurance.
Besides, you can ask pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, surgeons, nurses, and other health professionals about a primary care doctor. That way, you can further improve your research and choose a doctor based on your family’s specific health and insurance requirements.
Call Your Health insurance Company
Call your health insurance company and ask whether your insurance plan covers the primary care physician. It is an essential step to consider before making an appointment. Otherwise, you will experience complications like paying the expenses out-of-your-pocket.
Most insurance companies have a list of primary care doctors in different health domains. So, you can review the list and find out whether your health insurance plan covers the physician you want to choose for your family’s care.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) are two common health insurance plans. The first one requires you to have a primary care physician. However, you can choose from a limited number of primary care physicians.
On the other hand, a PPO insurance plan does not necessarily require you to have a primary care doctor. However, if you want to choose a doctor, PPO insurance offers you a less expensive option than HMO health insurance.
Anyway, it is crucial to discuss your requirements with your health insurance provider. The insurance company will explain how to streamline the process and whether the doctor you want to choose is within their network.
Call the Doctor’s Office
Once you have narrowed down your list of doctors, it is time to call each health provider’s office for further information. The purpose is to analyze the information and gain insights to make an educated decision. You can ask the following questions:
- Is the primary care doctor taking new patients?
- Will my doctor file the insurance claims for me?
- What types of payment options do you have or accept?
- What are the doctor’s timing and office hours?
- Do I need to make appointments in advance? If yes, how far in advance?
- How many physicians are in practice?
- Who will see my family if the doctor is not available?
- What hospitals and health centers do the health provider send their patients to?
- How long is the usual visit?
- Does the office have a lab work facility?
- What are communication options with the doctor?
- Can I send an email or call the doctor?
- Is the doctor board-certified and fellowship-trained?
When you note the answers from each clinic or office, you can compare the results and further narrow down your research. That way, you are one step closer to making an informed decision. Continue reading!
Schedule Your First Visit
After choosing the primary care doctor for your family, it is time to schedule your first visit. Once you are in the office, make sure you discuss your health requirements with the physician. Pay attention to the details and ask yourself:
- Did I feel comfortable talking to the primary care doctor?
- Did I get answers to my questions?
- Did I understand the explanations of the doctor regarding health insurance?
- Did I have enough time to ask all my questions?
- Do I believe this is a doctor I can trust for my family and health insurance?
Answering these questions is important when finally deciding to choose a primary care physician. You can also search online and look for patients’ reviews on third-party websites to know what others have experienced with the doctor.
Choosing the right primary care doctor for your family and insurance is directly proportional to adequate and affordable treatment and care. A long-term relationship with a primary care physician leads to reduced health costs and improved overall wellbeing. Consider the factors given above to streamline the selection process. Until Next Time!