There are various reasons you might need to find a new doctor. Maybe you just started a new job, and you’re now enrolled in a brand new health insurance plan. Perhaps your current doctor is retiring, or you’ve moved to a new neighborhood where it’s inconvenient to see your old doctor. Or perhaps you’re a young adult who has now outgrown the pediatrician who used to treat your childhood illnesses. Whatever your reason for seeking out a new doctor, it can be a stressful and overwhelming situation. Read on if you’re in need of some insights on how to choose the right doctor.
1. Think About Which Type of Doctor Will Best Meet Your Needs.
The first thing to understand is that doctors can be either general practitioners or specialists. Many health insurance plans require their customers to choose a generalist primary care physician to oversee their overall care. A primary care physician will refer their patients to specialist doctors when a particular situation warrants it. Primary care physicians tend to fall into several categories of practice including general practice, family practice, internal medicine or pediatrics. Alternatively, some women choose an obstetrician gynecologist (OB/GYN) as their primary care physician.
Specialists are the doctors you would go to if you need specialized care – for example, you’d most likely need to see a vascular surgeon if you have hardened arteries.
2. Make Sure Your Doctor and Your Health Insurance Plan Are Compatible.
If you have a health insurance plan, your plan might require you to only see doctors within a particular network. If you’re choosing a new doctor because you’re newly employed, your choice of doctors is likely to be influenced by the health insurance plan that is available to you through your employer.
If there’s only one health insurance plan your employer offers, the most straightforward approach may be to start your search for a doctor by asking your colleagues at work for recommendations. You might also wish to speak with your old doctor to ask if s/he would be able to refer you to a doctor from the new network you’ll be working with under your new employer. If both of those approaches prove to be fruitless, another option would be to search on your new insurer’s website.
If you’re enrolling in a popular health insurance plan, it can sometimes be a challenge to even find an in-network doctor who is accepting new patients. You could start by creating a list of possible doctors to work with by consulting your insurer’s website, calling each doctor’s office that’s listed and asking if that doctor is accepting new patients.
If your employer offers a choice of plans, the odds are a bit better that you may be able to choose a doctor first and then figure out which plan to enroll in that would allow you to see that doctor.
3. Verify Medical Credentials.
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