How to pick the right doctor

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Choosing a doctor can be a difficult and worrisome task, even under the best of circumstances. The doctor-patient relationship involves something that we value greatly, our health. This relationship has always been an important one, involving trust, openness, and compassion and therefore remains one of the most difficult, important decisions we make.

So, let’s chat and chew about different ways you can pick the perfect doctor for you and your family’s needs.

Ask for references. Talk to family members, friends, or co-workers and ask if they have any recommendations. Call any local hospitals and medical schools and ask for referrals. Ask the hospital staff the name of the doctor they go to for medical care. If you’re looking for a pediatrician, you can easily call their school and ask what their references are as to doctors or medical facilities.

Call around several different places and speak to their doctors. Don’t just stop at the very first doctor you find, look around and consider your choices before picking. There are websites dedicated to rating doctors based on reviews from actual patients—you can also search your doctor of interest on Google and see what pops up!

If your doctor refers you to a particular specialist, make sure you still check them out. Some doctors may refer you to their friends and business partners. Don’t assume they’re referring you to the best doctor or someone still in your insurance network. Again, this is a situation where you will want to contact your insurance company to make sure that the specialist is in-network for your plan. Although some doctors will refer you to their friends for specialty care, they are obligated to refer you to a capable specialist, which ensures good continuity of care. Your primary care doctor is responsible for coordinating all of your care to make sure you are receiving the best medical treatment for your condition(s).

Ask the doctors about credentials. Make sure the doctor has credentials and is properly licensed. You can do a license background check by calling your state’s medical licensing board and asking for a background check on the doctor. Members can also use the Cost Estimator Tool to see a doctor’s credentials and where they received their degree(s) from. Start by logging into the Compass Rose Member Portal, clicking “Claims & EOBs” in the menu bar, selecting the current plan coverage (redirects to UMR’s portal), and selecting ‘Health Cost Estimator’ on the homepage.

Discuss with the doctors about insurance plans. Talk to them about medical coverage and if they’re covered under your insurance. Be specific and ask if it covers visits, medications, procedures, etc. (many physicians do not know exactly what your insurance covers). There are too many variables, for example, co-insurance, deductibles, etc. To check what your costs will be for certain procedures or tests, Compass Rose Health Plan members can call an Insurance Specialist at (866) 368-7227 (option 3), Monday through Friday, 8:30AM – 4:30PM. Members can also use the Cost Estimator Tool, which can be found by logging into the Compass Rose Member Portal, clicking “Claims & EOBs” in the menu bar, selecting their current plan coverage (redirects to UMR’s portal), and selecting ‘Health Cost Estimator’ on the homepage.

The best time to choose a doctor is when you don’t need one. Don’t wait until you or a loved one is faced with an illness or emergency to begin looking for a doctor. This only adds stress to the decision-making process and increases the chances of making a choice you are unhappy with. To get started, visit www.compassrosebenefits.com/UHC to select an in-network doctor that best fits your needs.

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