Health care can be confusing. You might have questions like these:

  • Who do I see for a certain problem?
  • Where do I get the test I need?
  • Should I take this medication?

Fortunately, you have your own personal health care adviser: your regular doctor, or Primary Care Physician (PCP).


Why Do You Need a Primary Care Doctor?

Think of your PCP as the top adviser on your health care team. Because he or she knows you and your health history, you will get personalized advice. Together, you can make the right decisions for you.

Your PCP can:

  • Treat routine illnesses
  • Perform regular check-ups and screenings
  • Refer you to specialists when you need further tests or care
  • Coordinate care among specialists and other medical providers

How to Choose a PCP

It's important to find a PCP who is right for you. Here are some tips:

  • Ask for referrals from friends and family. Then check to see if those doctors are in your plan's network.
  • Look for network doctors who are easy for you and your family to get to.
  • Research the doctor's training and performance.
  • Call the doctors on your list to find out about cancellation and payment policies and after-hour health concerns.
  • Make an appointment with your top choice to go over your medical history, discuss your concerns and decide if it's a good fit.

You may choose different PCPs for each member of the family. Find a PCP in your network.

Types of doctors include:

  • Family or general practitioner — Treats a wide range of health concerns for family members of any age.
  • Internist — Treats adults; may have added training in specialties, such as cardiology.
  • Pediatrician — Specializes in health care for children and teens.
  • Geriatrician — Focuses on health care for older adults.

Get the Most Out of Your Visit

Tell your provider as much as you can about your health. Be sure to share:

  • All the medications and supplements you take, and how much and how often you take them
  • All the symptoms you’re feeling, even if they are embarrassing
  • What’s most important to you in life, like being able to drive, type or exercise
  • Your past surgeries, health conditions and treatments.