DOC TALK: Tips on Finding Your First Doctor
there are many things left to figure out as a young adult, and how to get – and stay – healthy is a big one
Did you recently come down with one of the thousands of illnesses running through town? Have pain or strange symptoms and want to know what’s going on? Finding your first doctor can be hard, but have no fear! Here are some tips for finding your first primary care doctor:
CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
If you’re young, it’s likely you’re still on your parent’s health insurance. Whether you’re paying for your insurance or not, figure out the doctors in the area that they cover. My health insurance has an app where you can search for any doctor to see if they’re in my network or just scroll through the list and see your options there. This is an important first step to know so you aren’t accidentally stuck with a huge medical bill that your insurance won’t cover.
ASK A FRIEND
See if someone you know and trust has a doctor they really like. Word of mouth is sometimes the best source for these things. Again, make sure they’re within your insurance network before requesting an appointment. (Pssst: This may mean you have to actually call your insurance company. You can do it, I believe in you!)
DO YOUR RESEARCH
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s important to thoroughly research any doctor you are interested in seeing. What do they specialize in? Does that match your health goals? Is that doctor part of a group practice, and if so do the other doctors match your health goals? (You may have to see one if your doctor isn’t available.) How long are appointments usually? These are all important things to know and can help you narrow your search.
AFTER YOUR FIRST VISIT: ARE THEY STILL RIGHT FOR YOU?
So you’ve gone to your intake appointment, but you are by no means obligated to return. You heard me, young Midwesterner: Put your politeness aside if you didn’t have a good experience! Was the doctor on time? Did they really listen to and respect your concerns? Did they make you feel comfortable? Did they ask you about your medical history? Did they explain things for you to understand? If you answered “no” to any of those, it’s probably not the right fit for you (and that’s OK).
Now get out there and stay healthy, you! You’ve got this.