Your Stress-Free Guide to Switching Doctors
Finding the right physician is no small feat, but “breaking up” with your doctor can be just as stressful as the hunt. Whether you switch jobs, insurance, or simply don’t feel like you’re getting the care and attention you need, there are many reasons why you might want to change doctors. These steps will help you swiftly navigate these murky waters if you plan on dumping your doc.
- Start looking for a new doctor before you officially cut ties with your old one. That way, if you become ill or need medical advice, you won’t find yourself between physicians.
- Ask around. Seek recommendations from close friends or family members.
- Do your research. Visit your insurance company’s website to see which board-certified physicians and practices are nearby. Most, if not all, member websites have a provider finder that lets you input your plan type (HMO, PPO, etc) so that you can then get a list of all providers that are “in network,” meaning they accept that plan. This is especially important if you have a limited or tiered network plan that may not cover as many doctors, or may have higher costs associated with them. Oftentimes, member websites will also include other important information like the languages spoken, board certifications, and even patient reviews.
- Depending on what type of health insurance you have, you may need to contact your insurance provider to change your primary care provider before making the switch. If you’re looking for a new primary care physician or family doctor, then you will need to notify your health insurance company to change this doctor if you have an HMO plan. Ask them how long it takes for the change to take effect, meaning how long will it take before you can see your primary care physician (typically, it takes effect the first of the following month). If you have a PPO plan or you’re simply switching specialists (like a dermatologist or a cardiologist), then you should be able to make the switch without this step.
- Explain why you’re leaving — or not. Feel free to address the reason, but don’t feel like it’s a necessary step. As long as you’ve contacted and notified your insurance provider, confirmed the switch and successfully transferred your medical documents, you should be prepared to start seeing your new physician.
Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcareThis is a paid partnership between Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio