Picking the right doctor for you and your family is an important decision.
A primary care doctor can play a key role in helping to diagnose, treat and manage your family’s health. You will visit or contact your primary care doctor for most doctors’ appointments, including checkups, health screenings and non-emergency situations, such as when you or your child has a sore throat or a fever. Your primary care doctor can also help refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Here are five tips to help you select the right doctor:
- Search for a doctor in your area.
You can search for a doctor in your area who is a participating provider with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) on our website at www.bcbsnd.com/find-a-doctor. We offer members more choice of North Dakota doctors than any other insurance company operating in the state. In North Dakota, 99.6 percent of doctors and 99 percent of hospitals (including the state’s largest hospitals) accept BCBSND insurance coverage.
You can search for doctors in North Dakota and the rest of the U.S. on BCBSND’s Find a Doctor page.
You can also search for a doctor, clinic or hospital outside of North Dakota if you live in another state, or are visiting another state. BCBSND members have access to the most comprehensive national network of participating doctors and medical facilities through the company’s partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in all 50 states. All BCBSND plans include BlueCard coverage that covers members throughout the U.S. and BlueCard Worldwide, which covers members when they travel to 200 countries worldwide.
- Make sure your doctor is in your network.
When searching for a doctor, clinic or hospital on our website, you will first need to select your network, then you can search for a specific specialty and look for a doctor or medical facility in your area.
After selecting your network, you can search for doctors and medical providers.
A network is a group of doctors, clinics or hospitals that have agreed to provide medical services at a discounted rate for BCBSND members like you. Members who see doctors outside their network, or doctors who are not participating providers with BCBSND, may experience higher out-of-pocket costs. Networks vary depending upon your specific insurance plan. Please call the phone number listed on the back of your BCBSND ID card if you have any questions about your network.
- Find the right doctor for you.
When searching for a primary care doctor, it is important to consider the different types of primary care doctors.
Here is a list of some different types of primary care doctors you might want to consider:
- Family practice doctors can treat patients of all ages and serve as a doctor for your whole family, including your children. Family practice doctors are generalists who can treat a wide variety of conditions.
- Pediatricians specialize in treating children and would serve as the primary care doctor for your child.
- Internal medicine doctors typically treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of chronic conditions and diseases.
- General practice doctors can also treat patients of all ages, but don’t generally specialize in one particular area of medical practice.
- Ask around.
One way to find the right doctor for you is to ask your friends and family what they like about their doctor and if they would recommend a doctor.
If you are already seeing a medical specialist, you can ask them if they could recommend a good primary care doctor. If you are moving or your doctor is retiring, ask your current doctor to recommend a doctor in your area.
- Meet your doctor.
You should plan to meet with your new doctor to make sure they are the right fit for you and your family. Make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor and that you pick someone you would feel comfortable discussing your medical history and medical care with.
Some other considerations when selecting a new primary care doctor include:
- The location of their office and its proximity to your home and work
- The doctor’s office hours
- How far in advance you will need to schedule appointments
Once you have selected a doctor, here are some tips to help you when talking with your doctor.
Doctors play an important role in helping to keep us healthy. We would like to thank North Dakota’s doctors for their dedication to help improve the lives of others.
Some of the resources shared in this blog were adapted from materials prepared by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. BCBSND is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.