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What to Look For When Choosing a Primary Doctor

Senior Woman speaking with primary doctor

Your primary doctor is the professional who has the responsibility to care for you over the years. The ideal situation is a primary care doctor who knows you, is familiar with your medical history, any conditions, allergies, lifestyle, and personality. Ideally, your primary care doctor is more than just a doctor, but over time, becomes a friend you trust for guidance and support throughout the years. To choose a primary care doctor, it is important to know what to look for.

A Good Communicator

Your primary care doctor should be a person you find easy to communicate with. Patients who feel intimidated by a primary care doctor may feel far less willing to discuss their health concerns. You have more than one option for a primary care doctor, so meet with several before you decide.

Youth vs. Age

A younger primary doctor has the advantage of having been more recently educated and may be more familiar with recent developments in medicine but lacks the experience of an older doctor. Only you can make the decision, but keep in mind that a younger doctor can treat you for many years, while a doctor nearing retirement age will soon be gone from the practice.

Personal Referrals

Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find a primary care doctor. Talk to your friends or colleagues at work for a doctor they recommend.

Your Insurance

The primary care doctor you choose should work with your health insurance plan. If you are on Medicare, the easiest first step is to call and ask if the doctor treats Medicare patients. You can also find a list of providers online, or in written materials you received from your insurance company.

Services – What’s Available?

Find out where you will be getting lab tests, X-rays, or other tests. It may be more convenient to find a primary care doctor in a practice that offers services in-office, saving you from the need to travel to another clinic, which may be inconvenient and time-consuming.

Affiliated Hospitals

Primary care doctors typically provide care at one or more affiliated hospitals. Learn which ones, and whether the hospital is in your health insurance network.


Personality makes a difference in how comfortable you feel with your primary care doctor. You should never feel hesitant to ask questions, or have medical issues explained to you in terms you don’t understand. You have years of experience with people, and if you feel uncomfortable, move on. There is no reason to choose a primary care doctor with a personality that doesn’t mesh with yours.

Read Reviews

You can read online reviews other patients have voluntarily submitted to various sites. It can be helpful to read a few reviews to get an idea of how others have responded to the care of that medical professional.

Get Some Help.

If you have questions about Medicare, how to find a primary care doctor in your network, or other health insurance questions, contact one of our local agents for help.

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