How to Choose a Primary Doctor

A doctor helping her patient

If you’ve signed up for a health insurance plan, then you may have been asked about something that you don’t know about or don’t have: a primary care physician. Your primary care physician is your go-to for health concerns. For a lot of health insurance plans, you are required to see your PCP before you see a specialist about any serious problems. 

Naturally, picking a PCP is a big deal and you should find someone that is the right fit for you. Here are 5 tips to find your primary care physician. 

Ask family and friends 

If you already know people in your area, then referrals are a great way to find a new primary care physician. Talk to people you trust about their network. Do they have a particular doctor or physician that they go to? Do they have a particular hospital that they trust for emergencies? 

If you can, then focus on talking to people with similar needs to you. Someone with a similar body type, age, and activity level is going to be able to more accurately understand what you need in a doctor. If you can’t, though, then other trusted sources will still be a big help. 

Learn who is in your network 

Here’s the most important thing to think about when choosing a primary doctor: your insurance plan will not cover every facility and physician in the same way. Insurance carriers can make deals with providers, so you pay less out-of-pocket.  These providers are called in-network (for a more in-depth explanation, read this). 

Your insurance carrier will have a provider directory on their website. You’ll need to be certain that your primary care physician is in-network. Otherwise, you could end up paying mostly or entirely out-of-pocket. 

Think About Logistics 

There are several things that aren’t necessarily related to your physician’s expertise or abilities that you should still think about. 

  • Where are they located? Is it close to work or home? 
  • How is the parking at their office or nearby? 
  • If you don’t have a car, is there public transportation nearby? 
  • Do they speak your language? 
  • Are their operating hours convenient for you? 

Visit the Doctor

If you think that you have found a doctor that matches your needs, then you should pay them a visit. You may have to pay out-of-pocket to go, but if you can afford it then it’s well worth it. When you go, pay attention to the little details: Are the receptionists friendly? What is their waiting room like? When someone calls, how helpful are they? How long do you have to wait before you are seen? These can all directly impact your experience with your primary care physician in the future, so you should think about them now. 

When you see the doctor, talk to them about why you’re seeing them. Tell them about any medications you may be taking, any chronic conditions you have, etc. and be sure that you are on the same page about treatment. If anything makes you uncomfortable or gives you a bad feeling, then trust your instincts. You could potentially be putting a lot of trust in this person, so you shouldn’t be uncomfortable when you see them. 

Let someone help you

Sometimes, the number of things that you need to consider when you are choosing a physician can be overwhelming. If that happens, then there is no shame in asking for help. If you are finding insurance through a broker, or are willing to work with one, then they can help you find a physician that fits your needs. They are healthcare experts and have the resources to compare hundreds of physicians and facilities that might best fit your needs. 

The brokers at Apollo Insurance Group can help you choose a primary care doctor. Simply fill out our contact form to start the process and get help today. 

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