Primary care doctors are there when you’re sick – but they are also there when you’re healthy. Seeing a primary care doctor when you’re feeling good can help you stay healthy. Here are five reasons to call your doctor when you’re healthy.
#1: Preventive screenings are free.
Due to federal health care reforms, any screening or test that’s considered preventive is likely free to you. Most health insurance plans are required to cover preventive services. Here are some examples of preventive screenings:
- Certain screenings for cancer
- Regular physical exams, including pediatrician visits
- Counseling for tobacco cessation
- Counseling to address obesity
- Coverage for certain women’s preventive services
#2: Vaccines are typically free.
In the same way that preventive screenings are fully covered by most health insurance plans; preventive vaccines are also covered by most plans. This includes the annual flu shot. Vaccines are important – even when you’re healthy – to ensure your health and the health of those around you. It's important to note that an office visit copay may apply, depending on where you go to receive care.
#3: They think big picture.
Primary care doctors don’t just think about your current sinus cold or treating your knee pain. They can spend more time checking your body from head to toe and doing any necessary screenings. They can see if there’s an underlying cause leading to your chronic symptoms. They also take things like your family health history and your social history into consideration.
#4: They help you manage your health – on weekends and holidays too.
With a close eye on your health, your primary care physician can help you avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. Primary care doctors are increasingly available for questions on the evenings and weekends through online patient portals, or through telehealth options. This makes them more accessible if questions or health challenges arise – and they are more informed in giving you advice as they are aware of your health history. This is good for your health and your wallet, since hospital bills can be costly.
#5: They can help lower your health care costs.
Your primary care doctor can also help you identify health problems before they’re serious, allowing you to potentially save money and avoid costly, invasive procedures or treatments. In addition, some insurance plans like BCN Healthy Blue Living actually offer lower out-of-pocket costs overall (like cheaper co-pays) if you have an annual exam with your primary care physician and work toward achieving health goals. If you want to select or change your primary care physician, log in to your account at bcbsm.com, call the number on the back of your ID card or visit Find a Doctor. Learn more about primary care and your other choices when it’s not an emergency at bcbsm.com/findcare. More from MIBluesPerspectives.com: