At some point in your life, there will be a time you will need to switch doctors. This could be due to a move, new health condition, issues with a doctor and their office, or most likely, a new insurance plan.
According to a Solutionreach survey, 20% of boomer patients are likely to change physicians in the next few years, while 35% have already switched in the last two years. Here are 3 pro tips to smooth out your next transition:
1. Check Before You Leave
First, you should check to see if your current doctor accepts your new plan if you’ve recently purchased new insurance. Often times, written contracts between physicians and health plans can be so complex the doctor might not even know they participate in your plan. Always a good idea to check with your new insurance plan to see if they cover visits to your current doctor.
2. Request Your Medical Records ASAP
If your current doctor doesn’t accept your new insurance, be sure to request your medical records as soon as you can. Legally, they must provide a printed or electronic copy within 30 days, or 4 business days if they participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Care Record Incentive Program. While there might be a nominal fee associated with the request, the transition to your new doctor will prove smoother with, than without.
3. Research Your New Doctor Options
Your new health insurance plan should be able to walk you through their online portal directory of doctors in your network accepting new patients. They might even go as far as to email you a list. Be sure to research new candidates to learn about their certifications, hospital or organizational affiliation, and their office policies, such as same day appointments or how soon the doctor may be able to get back to you via phone or secure email. Over 70% of Gen Xers and 87% of millennials prefer text messages for appointment reminders and follow up care, so if you’re on your mobile, it’s probably important that your new doctor has this capability as well.
Whatever your reason for exploring a switch, be sure to choose your doctor with care. 31% of patients polled wished they had more information before choosing a doctor, so if you’re curious about your current doctor or finding a new one, make sure you do your homework for a seamless transition.