Choosing a Primary Care Physician

There a several reasons you may find yourself looking for a new primary care physician. For example:

  • Your healthcare plan changed, and your current provider isn't in-network
  • Your doctor no longer accepts your health insurance
  • You've moved
  • You're simply ready for a change

5 Steps for Finding a New Physician

  1. First, it's important to select a doctor who is "in-network" for your health care plan. Most health plans have negotiated discounted rates with certain doctors and hospitals in your area, and you will pay less for visiting those doctors.
    Did you know...? While many doctors will accept your insurance, it doesn't mean they are in your network. Verifying the doctor is in-network will ensure any costs you incur are applied towards your plan's deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. See The Importance of Staying In Network.
    Refer to your insurance provider's "Find a Doctor" tool:
  2. Pick a doctor who meets your health needs. From a list of in-network providers, you'll typically have different types of doctors that can serve as a primary physician:

    • Family Practice - these physicians treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. They are generalists who can treat a wide range of conditions.
    • General Practice - like family practice, these physicians treat patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly.
    • Internal Medicine - these physicians typically treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease or chronic conditions.
    • Pediatrician - these physicians treat newborns and children.
    • OB/Gyn - Obstetricians and Gynecologists (OB/GYNs) specialize in the female reproductive system, and some women use their OB/GYN as their primary care physician. Be sure to whether the ob-gyn is comfortable taking on the role of primary care physician.
  3. Ask for a recommendation from a trusted healthcare provider, family member, friend or colleague.
  4. Consider practicality
    • Do you want someone close to home or close to your office? 
    • What are the office hours? 
    • How far in advance do you need to schedule an appointment?
    • Do you have a language preference? 
    • Is tech important to you? (online portal, email, video chat)
  5. Visit the doctor. An in-person meeting should affirm you've made the right choice. You should feel comfortable with the doctor, office and staff.

Related Reading:

The Importance of Staying In-Network

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