New School, New Home, New Doctor – Choosing a Primary Care Doctor for Your Family
| 3 min read
Have you and your family recently made the move to a new home? While it’s an exciting time, there are many stressful decisions to make and aspects of your new life to (re)organize. Don’t let your family’s health care slip through the cracks, especially since you never know when you might get sick or have an accident. One of the main things to do as you transition into your new place is determine who will become your family’s primary care physician. Not sure what to consider? Think about these important factors before choosing:
- Insurance: At the very start, create a short list of possible family doctors by checking who accepts your insurance. Log in to your member account for the most accurate way to find a doctor. The Find a Doctor tool and BCBSM mobile app can help narrow your list down and make sure you avoid choosing a doctor out of your network, which could cause you to pay more.
- Location: Finding a physician located near your home or workplace will make access to care that much easier. Keep in mind the distance it will take you to get to the office, especially with hectic schedules and traffic. A typical in-office doctor’s visit takes an average of 121 minutes, including the commute – cut that time down by choosing a doctor near you.
- Office hours: Health care needs don’t always occur within a 9-to-5 timeframe. If early or late appointments are important to you—maybe because of work hours, school schedules or extra-curricular activities, make sure the doctor can meet your needs. Take an extra step to understand the doctor’s on-call policy when they are out of the office and what to do in non-emergency situations that occur outside of normal business hours. You might want to consider selecting a doctor that carries Blue Cross’ Patient-Centered Medical Home Designation, meaning they are recognized for extended hours and coordinated care.
- Specialized care: Beyond annual physicals and immunizations, think about what other specialized treatments your family requires. Whether it’s diabetic care or allergy tests, check with the doctor to make sure they are well-equipped to handle those conditions.
- Ask a neighbor: As you get to know the people who live around you, ask them to recommend a local doctor they love. Talking with other families about their primary care doctors can help you identify one that matches your needs (plus it helps you connect with your new neighbors!).
- Trust your gut: A recent study found there is a strong emotional element to finding a doctor you love. Sometimes it’s only by having a conversation with the doctor and care team that you can get a sense of whether you think the practice will be a match for your family. If you don’t think that doctor will ease your worries in stressful times, keep looking.
Ready to get started? Log into your account on bcbsm.com and find a doctor by considering some of the options listed above. A primary care physician is the most important tool in your health care belt. Make sure you find the right one to guide you on your health care journey. Learn more about primary care and your other choices when it’s not an emergency at bcbsm.com/findcare. Looking for more information? You may also be interested in these blogs:
- Primary Care Doctors: Defining What Matters Most To You
- 5 Reasons to Schedule a Check-In with a Primary Care Doctor
- Just Moved? Here’s Your Family Health Care Checklist
Photo credit: Agung Pandit Wiguna