Along with eating right, exercising, and sleeping well, regularly visiting a primary care physician (PCP) is crucial for healthy aging. A primary care doctor is sometimes called a primary care physician, PCP or family doctor. They know your health history so they should be your first call when you're not feeling well.
It’s important to have a regular doctor, so you can see them when you’re sick or need preventive care like checkups, annual wellness visits and vaccinations. It is important, especially, for older adults to develop a relationship with a PCP because aging increases the risk for chronic conditions and certain injuries. Care becomes easier the day that relationship begins.
If you haven’t chosen a PCP, access to high-quality care can be easy to access with the right tools.
What are the benefits of a PCP?
The type of quality, comprehensive care you receive from a PCP is unmatched. You can get treatment at an urgent care center, emergency room or retail health clinic, but those visits usually just solve issues in the short-term. PCPs can spend more time checking your body, your health history and your family’s health history to find the underlying cause of an ailment, so it doesn’t resurface. They are there to provide the comfort and stability you need in the long run. Other benefits of a PCP include:
- Annual wellness visits and primary care services.
- Preventative screenings and tests, including those that detect early signs of cognitive impairment or dementia starting around age 65.
- Your PCP can advise you on ways to address the risk of falling and urine leakage/incontinence.
- Vaccines, like flu shots.
- Help with coordinating any specialty care you need, including treatment from behavioral health professionals.
- Some can help you manage your own care by making themselves available during evening or weekend hours and answering questions via e-mail on a patient portal.
BCBSM makes cost and convenience easy when choosing a PCP
One of the most overwhelming parts of medical care can be cost, especially when you don’t know what you’ll be charged for a visit or screening. BCBSM Medicare Advantage plan members with a PPO or HMO can avoid out-of-pocket surprises by logging into their member account on bcbsm.com or using the BCBSM mobile app to understand what will be owed ahead of time and locate any charges accrued from an appointment.
Coordinating schedules to fit in a visit is challenging enough, but finding a conveniently located PCP’s office can add to that challenge. Members have access to BCBSM’s Find a Doctor tool, which can help find practices located within a 10-mile radius from where members work or live. Find a Doctor even shows which PCPs in the network provide telehealth services, so visits can be scheduled virtually from home in certain situations.
Overall, a primary care doctor will be there with you for the long haul, providing the comfort and stability you need in your health care journey.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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