When you move to a new area, you’ll need to find a new doctor for your family. You may also need to find a new doctor if you get a new insurance plan that doesn’t cover your old doctor or if you plan drops your doctor from its network. Picking a physician is a not a decision you should take lightly, as the new doctor will be responsible for overseeing the health of your family.
Scan your insurance company’s list of covered doctors in your area if your policy requires you to use a doctor in its network. You may be able to choose an out-of-network doctor, but doing so may increase out-of-pocket costs.
Ask friends and relatives who live nearby or who have the same insurance for recommendations. Be sure to ask them how much time it takes to get appointments for check-ups and how long waiting room time is once they arrive for an appointment. Also ask how the doctor handles sick visits. If you have children, ask how the doctor is with children or if there is a pediatrician at the practice.
Make a short list of doctors you think may work out. Call each office and ask if they are currently accepting new patients. If so, ask about their office hours. If you work days and taking time off for a doctor’s visit is difficult, you’ll want an office with late or weekend hours. Inquire about the doctor’s qualifications, if she is connected to a hospital and ask how many other doctors work in the practice.
Schedule a “getting to know you” appointment with the doctor who fits your needs best. The appointment is a test run to see if the doctor is friendly and takes the time to listen to any and all concerns you have. You should also gauge how comfortable you feel with the new doctor. If she’s cold, cuts you off when you speak, or seems to be in a hurry to finish up the appointment, you may want to go back to the short list.