Choosing a Provider
Q: How do I choose a primary health care provider?

A: Don’t wait until you really need one to choose a primary health care provider. Take the time when you’re healthy and have the time to make the right decisions. In choosing a provider, always ask:

  1. Is this provider well trained and experienced?
  2. Will this provider be available when needed?
  3. What visits will my insurance cover?
  4. Am I comfortable with him or her?
Q: Where can I compare different hospitals in my area?

A: Hospital Compare Website from the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which provides an overview of hospitals' performance and cost. Compare how different hospitals perform on certain procedures.

Tips for choosing a hospital

Being Informed
Q: How can I avoid surprise billing

A: Read this guide from AHA on Avoiding Surprise Bills.

Q: What questions should I ask when choosing a new provider?

A: The following questions should help when selecting your new provider.

Q: Is this hospital in-network or out-of-network?

A: Prices can vary widely depending on whether your hospital is in- or out-of-network for your specific health plan. Out-of-network hospitals have not been able to negotiate a discounted price with your insurer, thus making you potentially responsible for higher personal payments.

Q: Is the hospital physician providing care in-network or out-of-network?

A: Even if your hospital is in-network, you may receive care from an out-of-network physician. If possible, always find out if all physicians who will treat you are within your health plan’s network. This includes but is not limited to: anesthesiologists for surgery or pregnancy delivery along with pathologists, radiologists or consulting doctors. If they are not within network, ask if they will accept in-network payment for services provided to you. If you’re concerned that your doctor may be out-of-network, contact your insurance company.

Q: Is it possible my bill will be higher than expected?

A: Yes, services and procedures may be different based on age and level of health (for example, uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure).

Q: What are some steps I can take to ensure safer health care?
  1.  Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers. Choose a doctor you feel comfortable talking to. Take a relative or friend with you to help you ask questions and understand the answers.
  2. Keep and bring a list of ALL the medicines you take. Give your doctor and pharmacist a list of all the medicines that you take, including non-prescription medicines. Tell them about any drug allergies you have. Ask about side effects and what to avoid while taking the medicine. Read the label when you get your medicine, including all warnings. Make sure your medicine is what the doctor ordered and know how to use it. Ask the pharmacist about your medicine if it looks different than you expected.
     
  3. Get the results of any test or procedure. Ask when and how you will get the results of tests or procedures. Don't assume the results are fine if you do not get them when expected, be it in person, by phone, or by mail. Call your doctor and ask for your results. Ask what the results mean for your care.
     
  4. Talk to your doctor about which hospital is best for your health needs. Ask your doctor about which hospital has the best care and results for your condition if you have more than one hospital to choose from. Be sure you understand the instructions you get about followup care when you leave the hospital. 
  5. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. Make sure you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation. Ask your doctor, "Who will manage my care when I am in the hospital?" Ask your surgeon:
  • • Exactly what will you be doing?
  • • About how long will it take?
  • • What will happen after the surgery?
  • • How can I expect to feel during recovery?

Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses about any allergies, bad reaction to anesthesia and any medications you are taking.