Find a Doctor

When you need to find a doctor, take the time to research your options. Follow the steps below to find the right doctor that best meets your needs.

  1. Make a List of Potential Doctors
    • Start with the network. Health plans like HMOs and PPOs use a select group of doctors and health care professionals. This is called a provider network. Before you see a doctor, you want to search Provider Finder® for doctors in your provider network. Remember, if you see a doctor who is not in your network, you may have to pay more for your care. In some cases, you may have to pay the full cost.
    • Ask your family and friends for doctor references.
    • Check local resources. Check with local hospitals to see if they have a referral service. If you're moving to a new area, ask your current doctor to help you find a qualified doctor near your new home.
  2. Research and Narrow Your List
    • Ask questions. Contact the doctors on your list and ask for information about their background. Some of these questions might include:
      • What is the doctor's training and education?
      • How long has he or she been in practice?
      • (If important to you) What is the doctor's age and gender?
      • Is the doctor board-certified? (This requires specialty training.)
    • Check for complaints. Contact your state's department of insurance and see if the doctors you are considering have had complaints filed against them.
    • Go online. Search online for articles and reports about the doctors you are considering. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois offers two reports to help you in your search — the Blue StarSM Medical Group/IPA Report recognizes HMO contracting medical groups/Independent Practice Associations (IPAs) that have documented high levels of performance in providing patient care. Similarly, the Blue StarSM Hospital Report measures several hospital quality and patient safety performance measures for 94 urban Illinois hospitals.
  3. Meet Your Doctor(s)
    • Meet and greet. Once you've narrowed your list to a handful of doctors, set up an appointment so you can get to know the candidates. Bring a list of questions and be prepared to discuss any concerns. Some offices charge a small fee for a meet and greet, but it will be well worth it.
    • Make your choice. By now you should have a pretty good idea of your prime candidate. Save your research, just in case you decide to switch doctors later. But, if you've done everything outlined here, chances are you've found the right doctor for you!