Some people feel more comfortable seeing specialists for each type of medical condition, but there are many benefits of having a primary care physician in addition to these specialists. Here are just some of the many reasons to consider establishing a relationship with a primary care physician:
When it comes to seeing a specialist for a new condition or getting tests done outside of routine physicals, an HMO insurance plan may require a referral; that means you need a doctor capable of making those referrals for you. A primary care physician can help you find a specialist whose area of expertise is catered toward your condition, make a referral, and follow up to make sure you are getting the care you need.
Lower Health Costs
In some cases, it may be more affordable to see a primary care physician for regular monitoring of chronic conditions. Your insurance company may limit how many specialist visits are covered each year, and some specialists can charge a considerable amount more for an office visit than a primary care physician. For example, a co-pay to see a primary care physician might cost $15 to $25, while the co-pay to see a specialist might cost between $30 and $50. You may find that seeing your primary care physician can be a more affordable option for you. You can still schedule annual appointments with your specialist for in-depth care, but you may want to consider checkups with your primary care physician in between. If your doctor sees a change in your condition, he or she can recommend a follow-up with your specialist.
Specialists treat specific parts of the body or medical conditions, and this can sometimes mean that they aren't able to focus on your general health. A primary care physician can take the information from each specialist and look to see how your different conditions impact your whole-body health. He or she might even see a connection between different conditions that might indicate a disease or syndrome at the root of your various issues. Having one person be the gatekeeper for your healthcare can prevent information from falling through the cracks, so you get the care you need.
Some people simply feel more comfortable talking to one doctor for all of their healthcare needs, and this is yet another benefit of choosing a primary care physician. If you don't already have one, consider establishing a relationship now so you have a trusted point of contact for all your health care needs.