Tips On Choosing A Doctor

When you choose a health insurance plan, one of the first things your insurer will ask you to do is to choose a doctor to be your primary care giver. The process of choosing a doctor can sometimes be bewildering, whether you are moving to a new city or trying to pick a new primary care physician. But choosing a doctor is an important part of your overall plan for health and wellness. How do you choose a doctor you can trust?

You might try a friend or coworker for a recommendation, but under some managed care health plans, you may be limited to choosing only certain doctors who are part of your managed health care plan. Other plans have “preferred providers,” which means that you will pay less to use these doctors since they are within the “preferred provider network.”

Refer to Your Health Insurer

Your first stop, when choosing a doctor, will often be your insurance company’s directory of providers. Every plan should offer such a directory, and some even have online directories. These can include detailed and up-to-date information on doctors participating in your health plan, such as their area of specialization, any hospital affiliations they may have, where they got their medical degree, and even their interests and hobbies.

Other Sources for Finding Doctors

There are many other online resources you can use to check up on your doctors. The American Medical Association site, “DoctorFinder,” is another free service that provides information on AMA affiliated physicians.

Questions When Choosing a Doctor

Once you have confirmed that your doctor accepts your medical coverage, here are some other concerns you may have about your doctor to take into account when choosing a physician.

  • Is your doctor’s gender important to you? Are you more comfortable with a male or female doctor?
  • Do you want a doctor who specializes in certain kinds of medicine? For instance, an internist might have a slightly different area of expertise than a family practitioner or obstetrician/gynecologist.
  • How convenient is the doctor’s office? Is it near your home or work?
  • What hospital is your doctor affiliated with? If there is a particular hospital you like or are close to, you might want a doctor who works with that hospital.

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