It may surprise you, but 28% of American men and 17% of American women don’t have primary care physicians (PCPs). They might only visit an urgent care or the emergency room when they get sick.
Still, the PCP should play an important part of every American’s health and wellness plan. If you haven’t got one, take the steps in 2018 to establish care with a PCP.
What is a Primary Care Doctor?
PCPs are doctors who provide the first point of contact for any person who needs medical care. Furthermore, these doctors continue to monitor patients over time. They eventually compile a comprehensive record of your health. Think of your PCP as the doctor you call when you get sick or who you see for your annual checkup.
These physicians are often valuable assets to their patients. Because they know their patients’ histories, they can often target care when someone needs it. They are also likely to know when a patient needs specialized medical care. Since PCPs become familiar with their patients, patients usually trust them to manage their care.
Seeking a PCP: Check Your Insurance First
It’s so important that everyone seeks the care of a PCP if they can. However, before you get a PCP, you have to do your research.
Just because you have health insurance doesn’t mean you have a free card to see a PCP. Therefore, before you seek care, check with your insurer. Most health insurers will cover a PCP’s services. However, patients often have to seek a PCP who accepts their insurance plan as payment. Insurance companies usually refer to these doctors as in-network physicians. If you don’t see a physician in your network, you might have less insurance coverage for your visit, or even none at all.
Choose a Physician Who Meets Your Needs
After you choose an in-network PCP, you still have work to do. Make sure the physician meets your satisfaction.
- The doctor should be able to treat you effectively. Choose a provider who has a background in your medical needs. If you need specialist care, you may have to see a certain provider.
- A PCP should offer convenience to you. Most people select physicians who practice close to where they live and whose hours match their needs.
- Most importantly, your PCP should make you feel comfortable in their care. The most important thing is that you trust your doctor. So, if you don’t feel you can be honest or open with your provider, it might be a good idea to look for another doctor.
If you have more questions about health insurance or seeking a PCP, then let us help. Call our agency with questions about your Pennsylvania health insurance.