With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in effect, it’s never been easier to obtain affordable health insurance. Since insurance providers can no longer discriminate based on income, age or preexisting conditions, health insurance has essentially become a buyer’s market. The amount you’ll pay each month is determined by your estimated annual income, so you’ll never again have to worry about breaking the bank in order to make an insurance payment. Now that so many people are buying insurance for the first time, they can finally start seeing a doctor on a regular basis. However, because these people have never had a regular physician, they’re not quite sure how to go about selecting one. Luckily, choosing the right physician isn’t nearly as daunting a task as it may seem. So if you’re currently shopping around for the right doctor, take the following factors into consideration.
Where Does She Practice?
When selecting a doctor, location can play a big role in your decision. If the doctor practices out of a nearby hospital or healthcare facility, this is definitely a plus. People who don’t own vehicles and seniors who are unable to drive themselves to appointments are sure to appreciate this geographical convenience. Alternatively, if the physician you’re interested in seeing is in another town or all the way across the state, you may want to consider another doctor. If you need to be driven to appointments, making such a lengthy trip can be an inconvenience to whoever’s driving you. Furthermore, with gas costs constantly on the increase, traveling a long distance to see your doctor may not be an economically sound decision on your part. Before giving up on this doctor entirely, check to see if the hospital she works at provides transport vans to seniors and low-income individuals.
Is She Accepting New Patients?
With millions of Americans becoming insured for the first time, many physicians are absolutely swamped with new patients. Once they’ve accumulated a certain number of patients, most doctors will cease enrolling new ones. At the end of the day, they’re only human and can only provide their services to so many people. There are two simple ways to confirm if a physician is currently accepting patients. When exploring the website of your local hospital, simply access the profile of the doctor you wish to see. Directly beneath her profile, it should specify whether or not she’s open to new enrollments. On the off-chance that this information isn’t available on the hospital’s website, just call the doctor’s office and ask her receptionist if she’s currently accepting patients.
What Do Her Patients Think?
There’s no better way to gauge how skilled a physician is than by hearing detailed feedback from current and former patients. In the digital age, doctor reviews are very easy to come by. In addition to having a seemingly endless assortment of local and national healthcare message boards, the worldwide web is home to a number of websites dedicated to documenting patient feedback and assigning physicians overall grades based on that feedback. If the doctor you’re interested in seeing has received overwhelming negative reviews, you’re probably better off finding someone else.
Now that quality healthcare is available to more Americans than ever before, there’s no time like the present to find a reliable general physician. By knowing what to look for in a doctor, you should have no problem tracking down a physician who perfectly meets your needs.