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Finding A New Doctor When You Move to Kansas City - Kansas City Doctors

There is perhaps nothing more unnerving about moving than finding a new doctor. This is especially so if there are medical conditions that require care or children to consider. If you had a doctor before you trusted implicitly, the change can be even more difficult. Add to that dealing with health insurance policy changes if your job changed and the undertaking can be very stressful indeed.

To find the best doctor in your new hometown, the best place to start is with your health insurance. The first thing you need to know are the different kinds you can buy and what most employers offer.

There are many different kinds of insurance plans to meet health needs, but three are the most common:

  • Health Maintenance Organization: This option, known as the HMO, offers basic standardized insurance coverage within a “network.” This kind of plan operates using co-pays for health visits and generally covers preventative care as well. HMOs have received a bad rap, but if the doctors are good and the plan is used to its best advantage, it can be a good choice – especially for those with families. Typically, the HMO option when offered by employers is the “middle of the road” policy. Buyers know exactly what they’ll have to pay if they go to a network provider for anything from a regular visit to hospitalization. Referrals from a primary care physician are generally needed.
  • PPO: This option is a “preferred provider” network. Generally those who subscribe to this insurance pay more, but they can go to any doctor without a referral, in network or without. The insurance will give special breaks for doctors within its network, but will still cover a percentage of out of network care. This is a great option for those who have a little more to spend and don’t enjoy the red tape of getting a referral. If you know you need to see an ENT, you can go directly to get your ears checked. There’s no middleman. This system generally doesn’t operate with a co pay, but uses percentages instead.
  • Safety net: An emergency policy, this type of coverage pays for hospitalizations and other major medical expenses. It does not pay for routine doctor visits. This option is generally the cheapest most employers offer, but it’s not recommended for people with kids or ongoing medical conditions. The out of pocket expenses can add up really fast if a lot of doctor’s office visits are needed.

Once you choose your insurance with your new employer and it becomes effective, make sure its coverage doesn’t cross with your old policy. It’s illegal to charge two different policies for the same medical incident unless it’s a case where one policy pays, let’s say, 80 percent and the other is a gap coverage than handles the 20 percent. You cannot have both pay 100 percent each, that’s fraud. After you’re set up with what kind of insurance to get, it’s generally time to find a doctor. If you’re moving across country or state and you have the list of doctors you new insurance covers, check with your current physician to see if she or he can make any recommendations. It’s not uncommon for a doctor from one state to know of others elsewhere by reputation, so it sure doesn’t hurt to ask.

If that doesn’t work, here are some ideas for finding a good doctor where you’re moving to:

  • Ask co-workers. Find out who they trust and why.
  • Check with the American Medical Association branch where you are going. See if the doctors you’re considering have complaints or lawsuits against them. Remember, most doctors will have at least one, it’s just the way of the world these days. Look for trends. If one doctor has a ton of complaints, it might be a good idea to steer clear.
  • Check with new neighbors. Ask them who they see and why. Find out what they think makes one doctor better than another. This applies for family care, pediatricians and even specialists. Word of mouth can go a long way to point out good doctors and even bad ones.
  • Interview choices. It’s okay to set up appointments to check out a practice before you decide. If possible, talk to the doctor or doctors. This is especially important if you’re looking for a family doctor and want someone who takes time out for his or her patients.

The best thing to do when looking for a new doctor is to find one before you need one. Check them out, visit the practice and if you find one you like, list that doctor as your primary physician if you need one under your insurance policy. Remember, most insurance policies let you change primary care physicians from time to time. So, if you don’t like who you choose, you can always choose again.

by Tiffany Lewis, Kansas City Premier Apartments, Inc.

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