According to healthgrades.com, 36 million Americans move each year and most of them need to find a primary doctor in their new place of residence. Finding a new primary care physician may not be the most urgent of items on a moving to-do list but it should be approached with proper research and preparation. If possible, we also recommend finding a doctor within the first month of moving.
If you’ve moved recently or have one coming up, check out these tips on how to find a primary doctor in your new area.
1. Search Doctors Within Your Insurance Network
Many of us on the hunt for a new doctor make the mistake of not checking if a prospective physician accepts our insurance. Save yourself hours of uneventful research by utilizing your insurance provider’s list of in-network health professionals as a starting point. While some insurance companies cover out of network physicians, the coverage amount is significantly less than if you opt for an in-network provider.
Additionally, you will need to confirm that the doctor accepts out of network patients so we recommend sticking to your own network. Most insurance providers will allow you to search by zip code and type of doctor on their website.
2. Check Physician's Reviews & Credentials
You may have experienced a time when a physician who had rave reviews or impressive credentials didn’t live up to the hype. This is why we recommend researching a doctor’s reviews as well as their level of expertise. While researching reviews and checking credentials doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the physician will be an ideal fit, checking off both boxes will increase your odds of finding a doctor who’s a good match for you.
Healthgrades.com allows users to view paitent satisfaction scores and check credentials all under one website roof.
3. Know Your Options
One of the many benefits of moving is the chance to start fresh, like finding a new health care provider. Now that you have the chance to start over, it’s important to find a doctor who aligns with the needs of you and your family. Knowing the difference between general practitioners, pediatricians, ob/gyns, etc. will help determine the right physician fit for you. In addition, know the difference between PAs, MDs and DO’s as each title offers a different level of education, certification and experience.
4. Make a Consultation Appointment
You don’t need to be sick to make an appointment with a new doctor. Before making the final decision on who your primary care physician will be, make an appointment to discuss your health care history, needs and expectations with them. Meeting them in-person will allow you to confirm your preliminary research and make a more informed decision.
Finding a new doctor may not be the most commonly known post-moving task but it’s an essential one nonetheless. Many people tend to put this off until they actually get sick and this can lead to making a hurried decision without the proper information to back it up. Tackling the task of finding a family doctor within the first month after moving will ensure that you’ll have a great doctor ready to assist you in your time of need.