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How to Choose the Right Doctor

How to choose the right doctor

A reliable and knowledgeable physician is essential to your wellbeing. For the millions of Americans with health insurance, the opportunity to choose one’s doctor offers an array of options. While having options is a positive thing, sometimes the choices can be overwhelming for consumers.

While the vast majority of doctors are well-trained and well-intentioned, they do make mistakes. According to a 2012 study released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 14% of Medicare patients reported a treatment error or mistake by their physician, and surgical errors accounted for over 34% of medical malpractice claims.

Finding the right doctor can help you avoid falling into the wrong side of these statistics. For peace of mind, answer these questions to find out if a doctor is right for you.

What is my insurance coverage and is my doctor “in-network?”

Identify which doctors are in your network by searching on your insurer’s online directory. An “in-network” physician will give you discounted rates. An “out-of-network” doctor will charge you their full rates, because they are not part of your insurance plan. Always make sure prior to any visits you confirm that your appointed doctor accepts your personal insurance plan to avoid expensive medical care.

If you are searching for a provider, check out the most recent NCQA Health Insurance Plan Ratings.

Is my doctor board certified?

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) maintains the highest standards of physician care and oversees 24 specialty member boards. The association adheres to evolved standards in medical practice and stresses professionalism and patient safety.

Board-certified doctors provide quality health care and give patients peace of mind that they are working with an exceptional physician. Search your doctor’s standard information to check if they are board certified.

Is my doctor close to my home and are we compatible?

You don’t want to be stuck traveling an hour for a simple routine checkup. Find out how far away your doctor’s office location will be from your home or office.

To find out if your physician is right for you, meet your potential doctor face to face. Discuss your medical history and any chronic conditions. Developing a strong doctor-patient relationship is crucial to the long-term success of your health. Visit, talk to the staff, see how you feel once you are inside the office.

How long does it take to make an appointment?

Make sure it doesn’t take a month in advance to see your physician. If your doctor is extremely overbooked and busy, you may end up sitting in the waiting room for an hour after a scheduled appointment. Check up on the staff to get an honest assessment of what you will expect. See if you can book same-day appointments. Make sure your physicians are there when you need them.

Have you already experienced medical malpractice?

Maybe you have already suffered from faulty care from physicians, nurses, or medical staff. Tell us your story during a free consultation with Kaplan & Lukowski today.