Amongst the many things you have to do after you move to a new neighborhood from enrolling your kids in new schools, to scouting out your new favorite pizza place to visit on a Friday night, to finding a stylist to cut your hair, a new doctor’s office should be near the top of list. Keep your family healthy, by scouting out a new doctor’s office before the flu hits your family. Follow these tips to find a new doctor now!
What type of doctor will you need?
The needs of your family will determine the type of doctor you see. Pediatricians specialize in children while adults can see either a General Practitioner or an Internal Medical Specialist. Internists focus on treating adults and the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. If you preferred one doctor for the whole family, a Family Practitioner treats general illnesses and can refer you to a specialist if one is needed. If you already know you have a certain condition that will require a specialized doctor, you can begin searching for that specific doctor. However, your insurance may require a referral first.
What type of insurance do you have? Do you have an HMO or a PPO?
A health maintenance organization (HMO) means that you pay a set monthly fee no matter how many or few times you see a doctor. After a doctor’s visit you will usually have to pay a copayment and for any prescriptions, but there will be no deductibles or claims forms. When you first sign up for the insurance, you will have to select primary care doctor from the HMO network. When you move, you will need to go online to your insurance provider’s website or call the number on your insurance card to find a new doctor in the network in your area.
A preferred provider organization (PPO) is a network of doctors and medical providers who have agreed to offer medical services to PPO members at a discounted cost. Members can see any of the PPO doctors at anytime. You don’t have to declare a primary physician up front like in an HMO. If you choose to see an out of network doctor, it will cost more.
If you have an HMO, it is pretty straightforward, you will need to select a doctor in your area from the HMO network sooner rather than later. If you have a PPO, you may be able to put off the search for a new doctor, but why not be prepared?
Where to look for a new doctor?
One of the best places to begin your search for a new doctor is on your insurance provider’s website. You can also call your insurance company and ask for a list of doctor’s in your area that are a part of your network.
Nevertheless, a long list of in network doctors may be somewhat intimidating because it’s just a name on a list. Go to a specific doctor’s website or ask for doctor recommendations from coworkers, other parents of kids in the same homeroom as yours or neighbors.
If you belong to any online neighborhood groups like nextdoor.com, forums or listservs, asking for doctor’s recommendations is commonly done.
You can also search for doctors here: http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2011-05/how-find-new-doctor
I found a doctor, now what?
Before anyone gets sick or you need to visit the doctor, call and make sure they will take your insurance and find out how much your copay will be. The last thing you want when you are feeling lousy is to be stuck with a large bill.
Good luck on your doctor search and stay healthy!