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Tips For Choosing a General Practitioner

There are many decisions to make when you’re looking for a physician – where they can be found, what type of insurance or payment plan they accept, and what gender their health care providers are. But there’s one decision that should never be overlooked: how busy is the practice? Is it making house calls and seeing both children and adults? Is it open after-hours?
In this post, we’re going to cover some ways to figure out how busy a practice is before you schedule an appointment. We’ll also tell you how to find out if the physicians in your area take your particular insurance.

First, find out if the practice sees adults, children, and/or both? If you want a practice that sees children and adults, you want to make sure it is a multi-generational practice. In addition to asking the front desk staff, ask your doctor directly. To see what we mean, check out this post from The Doctor’s Blog: How To Find A Family Medicine Physician.

Also, check if the clinic offers after-hours care. Most practices will have business hours posted on their websites. You can also contact the front desk staff to find out when they provide care on evenings or weekends. Besides, find out if clinic is certified by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). As you can probably imagine, if a practice is treating patients with allergies and asthma, they must be very specialized. If they even have a receptionist who has to deal with this on a daily basis, then it’s most likely a specialty practice. If there are no allergy or asthma patients in your practice, ask for the receptionist or doctor’s assistant and ask about the facility’s certification status according to the AAAAI. If it’s not listed on their website though, you might want to research further as we’ve found that not all AAAAI-certified facilities have the same standards.

More so, find out if a doctor is board certified. You can find this information out by calling the doctor’s office directly. You can also look for more information about specialty certification on the website of your state’s medical board. It’s always good to have a doctor with whom you have a good rapport, but doctors who are board-certified in their field have undergone more training and passed more exams than those that are not.

Additionally, check if the doctors take your insurance. While many Web sites like Healthinsurance.org offer free quotes on health insurance plans, most of them do not list what doctors accept what plans. You can find out what doctors accept your insurance plan by calling the insurer’s customer service number. And if you’re looking for a new insurance plan, check out our guide to open enrollment for 2014 health exchanges. If you’re planning to move doctors in the future, it’s always good to ask them what type of insurance they accept. Some providers are specialists in one field and do not even take an insurer’s primary plan so you don’t want to waste your time switching if you end up having to switch back again.

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