While a small percentage of Americans still go uninsured, around 8.6 percent, the vast majority maintain health insurance for part or all of the year. Of course, possessing insurance and getting value from insurance are different animals.
Many people dislike visiting the doctor, often out of the fear of getting bad news or because of the certainty of it. Yet, regular care from a family doctor is crucial in preventing health problems or catching them early.
That does leave you dealing with the challenge of choosing a family health center. If you’ve gone through the trouble of getting health insurance, keep reading for four tips on picking a family health center.
1. Look for In-Network Centers
Most insurance companies have an established list of preferred physicians and health centers. In general, these are healthcare providers that the insurance company has reached an agreement with regarding billing practices.
For example, a family doctor or family medical center might recommend less expensive tests or procedures unless there is a pressing need. In exchange, the insurance company helps direct patients their way and may process their claims faster.
As a patient, you typically pay less for visits, tests, and procedures.
2. Consider Expertise
When a family moves, they don’t leave their existing medical concerns behind at their old home. For example, a child may have allergies or asthma that require a doctor with specific knowledge and expertise.
Adult family members may have chronic conditions that need a specialist for monitoring or treatment. You want a family health center that can meet most or all of these needs.
3. Weigh the Distance
Even when dealing with the question of in-network providers for insurance plans, you’ll often face a lot of choices. That is particularly true in larger cities with a higher concentration of doctors and health centers.
If you only visit your doctor once or twice a year, a 15-mile drive may not sound so bad. If you or a family member must make monthly pilgrimages to the doctor, that drive can prove inconvenient.
If you live in Katy, TX, for example, you don’t want a doctor on the far side of Houston. Instead, you’d want a place like Primary Care Centers of Texas that you can find in Katy.
4. Visit the Center
You should always drop by the health centers on your list to get a feel for the place. Is the customer service good? Do you like the people you interact with?
If you get a good gut feeling about the place, it will often make keeping your appointments an easier task mentally.
Picking Your Family Health Center
Picking your family health center isn’t that much different from picking any business to provide you service. You must consider the costs in terms of which centers are in-network for you.
You must find a place that offers any specialist service you need. There are the basic logistics of proximity. Then, there is your comfort level.
Looking for more tips about health and healthcare? Check out some of our other posts in the Health section.