Switching Your Primary Care Physician: Tips And Tricks, Part 1
Whether you switched health insurance policies or simply need a doctor who better meets your needs, finding a new primary care physician can be tricky. This professional is your go-to for all basic health needs. Especially if you have any special conditions, you want a doctor who you can trust completely. This is particularly true since the U.S. has the highest rates of chronic health conditions, with 87% of older Americans reporting at least one. About 68% report two or more chronic conditions.
With the importance of making this transition go well, there are steps you can take to ensure you make the right choice. In this two-part series, we will outline some tips to finding the right doctor and to getting the most your of your first healthcare visit.
Tips To Find The Right Primary Care Physician
- Check your hospital network
Your doctors and specialists might operate within a certain hospital network. Sometimes, this might be tied to your insurance and offer certain benefits. Call your insurance company and ask for a list of their network providers.
- Determine who takes your health insurance
This is one of the most important steps you can take, especially when it comes to managing health care expenses. Make a list of potential physicians who take your health insurance.
- Get recommendations
Your friends, family members, and medical specialists might have recommendations for a primary care physician. This may help you trust a specific provider more, since referrals from loved ones often carry more weight than those of strangers.
- Narrow your options based on specialty
You know your specific health needs and what you require to live a healthy lifestyle,
so check the specialties of specific doctors. You might prefer an internal or general medicine physician if you are an adult of any age. If you have kids, however,
a family practitioner might be a more practical option.
- Set up a meeting with a potential doctor
Once you think you have found a doctor you like, set up a meeting. This can be in-person or over the phone. Take the time to ask questions and write notes about your impression.
While finding a primary care physician is an important task, it is not ever set in stone. There are generally many doctors who accept the same health insurance policies and treat certain conditions. Once you do choose a potential doctor, the next part of this series will help you get the most out of your first appointment.