Switching health plans can bring about a lot of anxiety — it’s a major transition for some, and it is often a highly personal, medical, and financial decision. As such many dally in changing their plans, even if it is more beneficial to, as they say, rip the band-aid off.
But one principal concern in switching health insurance plans is defining whether or not you get to keep your doctors after you make the change. Patients establish trusted, healthy, and sometimes even lifelong relationships with their doctors, and leaving your medical professional can be difficult; they are the keepers of your entire clinical history and know how to communicate with and treat you. But changing insurance plans does not also necessarily mean losing your medical contact.
Obtain a List from Your Doctor of Participating Insurance Plans
When choosing a new insurance plan, there are lots of steps to take to see if this means going to a new doctor. To start, request from your doctors or their staff a list of networks they are contracted with. (This may also be on their website.) From there, you know exactly who you can switch to while still staying in-network. The work that follows, of course, entails finding out which plan is a good fit, financial and otherwise, but websites like healthcare.gov or using state or private exchanges can be helpful.
What to Do if Your Doctor Is Not in the Plan You Are Considering
But it’s also very possible that the new health insurance plan that you’ve been considering is not one your beloved doctor accepts. Fear not: this does not mean the end of the road. Talk to your doctor; perhaps some kind of an agreement can be arranged, or perhaps he or she has been getting requests from other patients about your chosen network and so the office may consider adding it to their plans.
However if it turns out that plan cannot be accepted, you may have to make a firmer decision. Without your insurance to cover key expenses, you’ll have to decide whether staying with your doctor and paying out-of-pocket is worth it, or perhaps your doctor can still be of use: mention the network you plan on switching to, ask your doctor if they know of any neighboring facilities that accept that plan, and see if your doctor recommends any other professionals who could be a good fit for your needs. They’ll know you best and can find someone for you to have a fruitful relationship with.