Q&A: How Do I Choose a Doctor?

Finding a doctor you trust is an important part of staying healthy. You're more likely to schedule regular appointments. And you'll be more comfortable asking questions about your health. Provided by United Healthcare

Q&A: How Do I Choose a Doctor?

If you choose a managed care plan for your health and wellness coverage, you'll likely pay less if you use a doctor in your plan's network. In fact, you may be required to choose a primary care doctor to coordinate your health.

Determine if Your Doctor is In Network

You'll probably pay less when you visit doctors or other health care professionals in your plan's network. Already a UnitedHealthcare plan member? See if your doctor is in the network.

Why Do You Need a Primary Care Doctor

Choosing a primary care doctor is something most managed care plans require. But, even if your plan doesn't require it, finding one is a good idea. Why? If you see the same doctor who knows you and your medical history, that person can help coordinate your care. For example, your primary care doctor:

  • Treats routine illnesses
  • Performs regular check-ups and screenings
  • Is your first call for health concerns
  • Refers you to specialists when you require further tests or care

How to Select a Primary Care Doctor

It's important to find a primary care doctor that is right for you. Rather than randomly picking someone from your plan's network, consider these steps:

  • Ask for referrals from friends and family. Then check to see if those doctors are in your plan's network.
  • Search your plan's network for doctors whose locations are convenient for you and your family.
  • Research the doctor's education, certification and performance history. (Websites like abms.org and ama-assn.org are great resources for this.) Also, check your health plan to see which doctors have been specially designated for quality.
  • Call the doctors on your list to find out more information about things like cancellation and payment policies, insurance claims and after-hour health concerns.
  • Find out who covers for your doctor when he or she is not available.
  • Schedule an appointment with your top choice to go over your medical history, discuss your health concerns and determine if it's a good fit.

Depending on your situation, you may choose different primary care providers for each member of the family. Types of doctors include:

  • Family or general practitioner. These doctors care for a wide range of health concerns and may be able to treat family members of any age.
  • Internist. Internists treat adults and may have additional training in specialties, such as cardiology.
  • OB/GYN (obstetrics/gynecology). These practitioners specialize in women's health, including pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Pediatricians. Pediatricians specialize in health care for children and adolescents.
  • Geriatricians. These doctors focus on health care for older adults.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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