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Doctors 101 (Choosing, Working With Effectively, Switching, Paying For)

How To Keep Your Doctor When You Change Health Plans

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It is understandable if you want to keep your doctor when you change health plans. Your doctor know you and your health history - possibly even starting before your diagnosis.

Following a few alternatives to consider to change plans and still see your doctor. As you consider them, keep in mind that there may be deadlines you have to meet.

  • Ask your doctor if he or she would consider contracting with your new insurance plan. If he or she is agreeable, then contact the customer service plan if you purchased the plan directly. If not, contact the person through whom the plan was purchased. He or she will have more influence with the company to get it to agree with your request. 
  • Check your state law. It may provide that your new plan must arrange for continuous care if you request it. If there is no such broad requirement, the law may at least require that you be allowed to continue to see a doctor for a limited time if you have a serious or life-threatening illness. These laws generally allow you to continue to see your current doctor for a fixed period, such as 90 days. It may also provide the right terminates earlier if your doctor certifies that you can be safely transferred to a new doctor.
    • To find out about the law in your state, The Actors' Fund of America's Health Information Resource Center at offsite link. Or call your state insurance department. Contact information is available through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at offsite link. Or look in your local Yellow Paqes.
    • Check with your doctor to let him or her know that you will need a letter describing the medical necessity of continuing your care with your doctor.
  • If you are losing your group insurance:
    • Check to see if you can continue your group coverage (and thus continue to see your doctor) under COBRA. On the downside, you will have to pay the premiums during a COBRA continuation of your policy.
    • If you do not have a right to COBRA continuation of your health insurance, you may be able to convert your employer-sponsored gorup plan to an individual plan.

If you cannot continue with your doctor, show him or her the choice of doctors to whom you will be limited. Perhaps he or she has a recommendation.

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