Finding a Doctor

Read This Before Choosing a Primary Care Physician

When it comes to picking a primary care physician, there is a lot to consider. You want to make sure you find a doctor you’re comfortable with and who can take care of you and your family’s needs. On top of that, the doctor needs to be conveniently located and compatible with your insurance plan. Even with those guidelines, it can be overwhelming to choose from the more than 10,000 physicians Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has in its network.

That’s where the below can help. Whether you have a new plan this year that requires you to change doctors or need a new primary care physician for other reasons, read the following tips to help narrow down your options.

Doing Your Research

The Blue Cross Find a Doctor tool is the perfect place to begin your search. It helps you refine your results based on various factors, like location, types of specialists, group affiliations, and more. The tool will list your best matches based on the selections you’ve made. Below are a few examples of what you should keep an eye out for:

  • Accepts your insurance: This might be the most important factor, since seeing a doctor who is out of your network can result in much higher out-of-pocket costs for you. Make sure to pick your exact plan when using the Find a Doctor tool and confirm with the physician when you make your first appointment.
  • Location: Where will you likely be driving from when you go to your appointments? Whether it’s home, work or school, make sure the doctor is convenient for you to get to.
  • Speaks your language: You can also narrow down your search based what languages the doctors speak. This is helpful if you have a family member who doesn’t speak English or if you feel more comfortable talking in a different language.

Making Your Choice

You’ve now identified some doctors who may suit your health needs, so how will you decide who to go with? Consider these factors:

  • Office policies: It’s not only the specific doctor you should research, you also need to take into account the office in which he or she works. Talk to the receptionist or office manager about how long it takes to make an appointment, their cancellation policies and how long patients are kept in the waiting room. These insights can help determine if the office will be able to provide you with the best overall experience possible.
  • Modern touches: How up-to-date are the doctors’ offices? Do they have the latest technology for running tests and screenings? This can be important in your selection process because, if they don’t, you may have to visit other offices to have various procedures done. Talk to the office manager to find out what kind of tools and equipment they have on-site and if they typically have to send patients to other offices for certain screenings and tests.
  • Read through reviews: Whether they have a good or bad experience, people constantly head to the internet to share their thoughts on services they receive. This is no different in the health care world. It’s important to find a doctor who listens to you and establishes a level of trust, so read reviews on various doctors within the Find a Doctor Tool to find out more about them.

Choosing Your Doctor

You’ve made your decision, but now you need to make it official. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Update your plan: Whether you’re selecting a doctor for the first time or changing to a new one, you’ll want to update your information with your health insurance provider. If you’re a Blue Cross member, you can use the Blue Cross mobile app or the online portal at bcbsm.com.
  • Bring medical records to first your appointment: When you schedule your first appointment, confirm with your doctor’s office what medical records they will need you to bring. Give yourself enough time to gather these items, as you may need to call your previous doctors to get them sent to you.

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Photo credit: Pxhere

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