A move to another community means finding a lengthy list of new service providers — everything from utility companies to a replacement veterinarian. Finding health care providers for you and your family should be near the top of the list. Here’s how to find doctors you’ll love and trust.
Consult your insurance coverage
You should tell your health insurance company about your upcoming move. Your insurer’s website should have a search directory for physicians, other providers and hospitals in your area. Your health insurance offers two levels of coverage: in-network providers with whom the insurance company has a contract, and out-of-network providers with whom it does not. Though your health insurance will pay for care under both types of coverage, it pays more for care from in-network providers. The largest insurers such as BlueCross BlueShield and UnitedHealthcare have extensive health care provider networks, so you should have no trouble finding providers.
Dental insurance is often a separate policy from your health insurance, but still operates by in-network and out-of-network provider lists.
Get referrals from your existing providers
You should also tell your current providers about your move and ask for referrals in your new community. They may know doctors, dentists, physical therapists, mental health professionals and others within their own field of practice there. Look for these referrals’ names on your insurer’s in-network provider list.
Check out physician reviews
Look up the doctors you are considering on www.healthgrades.com, www.vitals.com or WebMD’s physician directory. You can see where the doctor went to medical or dental school and how many years she has been in practice, as well as her professional specialty credentials. These sites will also list the hospitals with which the physician is contracted to work. Make sure these are hospitals you’d want to use.
Read review comments not only about the doctor but about his nursing staff and office operations. You want doctors with whom you’re comfortable but also a friendly, efficient support staff.
Consult contacts in your new location
If you haven’t settled on health care providers by the time of your move, ask your new neighbors and work colleagues for leads. Your real estate agent may also be able to help.
Related – Settling Into a New Community