Choosing A New Doctor

Doctor suggesting hospital program to patientStarting a new job, moving to a new location, or changing insurance plans can lead you down the path of having to choose a new doctor. Choosing a new health care provider can be stressful, but here are some things to consider:

  • Does new health care provider accept your insurance?
    • One of the most important things to do when searching for a new doctor is making the doctor/provider is considered in-network with your insurance plan. An in-network doctor has contracts with your insurance company to provide services at a lower cost to clients. Most insurance companies will have a website that provides a list of doctor offices that are  compatible with your insurance. If you are not sure, ask a representative from the doctor’s office and they will let you know. In-network doctors are a better option because in most cases, using an out-of-network doctor will cost you more money.
  • Diverse People Listening to the Doctor's PresentationAsk questions, lots of questions.
    • Knowing which doctor to select can be tricky but one good tip is asking people you trust such as co-workers or friends for recommendations. When asking people you trust keep in mind that just because they like the doctor doesn’t mean you will, so it’s best to ask the right questions. Another great tip is using websites such as www.ratemds.com or www.healthgrades.com. You can also interview a potential primary care provider. Call the doctor’s office and be prepared to ask questions to the office staff and the doctor. Asking the right questions can help to make sure that the doctor’s office is a good fit for you. 
  • Know your insurance policy on switching health-care providers.
    • Many of us have had negative experiences with a doctor’s office. It’s best to make sure that you know what your insurance provider’s policies are about switching doctors.  You can find this information in the Evidence of Coverage document. The term sounds technical, but it is just the agreement between you and the insurance company. It provides information of what your plan actually covers, how it works, and what you’re supposed to pay. You can get a copy of this document when you enroll in a new insurance plan, but most insurance companies have a copy on its website.  
  • Call the insurance company.
    • My final piece of advice is when in doubt, call the insurance company.  You should have received a wallet sized insurance card from your insurance company.  Somewhere on the card will be a phone number you can call with any questions. Remember that you are the customer, if you have questions you should be able to get them answered.

If you want more information, visit the Insuring Your Health website.  There is an article that provides greater insight on this topic. 

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