A doctor is your partner in maintaining good health and manages most of your care. Primary care starts with regular checkups, health screenings and immunizations. It includes treatment for illness, injury and chronic conditions, like a heart condition or asthma. The doctor also arranges for specialty care, lab tests and hospitalization.
Members of the same family do not need to have the same doctor. Here are the types of doctors that can be selected as the primary doctor:
Family and general practitioner: Treat patients of all ages, from newborns to adults. They commonly provide obstetrical and gynecological care.
Internist: Specialize in all aspects of medical care. Most treat patients age 18 and older.
Pediatricians: Specialize in the treatment of infants and children age 18 or younger.
Obstetrics/gynecology: Specialize in women’s health, including pregnancy and childbirth.
With thousands of qualified primary care physicians in Michigan, how do you decide? Blue Cross has an online tool, bcbsm.com/find-a-doctor, to help Michiganders with their search. Here’s a list of things to consider when choosing a doctor:
In-network: To avoid unnecessary costs, pick a doctor who is part of the insurance company’s network. Going out-of-network for care can become expensive.
Patient-Centered Medical Home: In this type of practice the doctor is the “coach” of the patients’ health team and leads the other health care professionals committed to improving your overall health. The doctor can connect directly with specialists, pharmacists and others to ensure the best care.
Convenience: Locate practices by city, languages spoken or handicap accessibility.
Experience: Check the doctor’s credentials to see how long he or she has been in practice.
Ratings: Read and review doctor ratings so you can gain insight from other members’ experience.