We are often asked for primary care doctor recommendation.
The four main reasons you might be looking for a new doctor are,
- new to the area,
- want to or have changed your health insurance,
- have put off healthcare and have not had a doctor in years or,
- are unhappy with current doctor.
Each of these situations will means you will need an appointment with a doctor who is accepting new patients.
You are probably aware of the severe provider shortage we have in Southern California and most of the United States. Currently, the federal guidelines call for a ratio of 750 patients to every Primary Care Provider. The state average is currently 1200:1, and Riverside county is among the worst at 2300:1. This means we have half as many doctors per resident in our county as the state average, and one third the number that the federal government recommends.
What this means to you is, you might need to accept primary care in a different way. Many of us are used to always seeing an MD. But, a lot of practices now have Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners on staff, and these healthcare professionals are more than capable of being your primary care provider. Our local hospitals also have residency programs in which physicians in training are closely supervised in primary care. Many of our clients currently use the Eisenhower Residency Program as their primary care and are very satisfied. We have also had many clients report that their family practice allows them to see an NP much faster than they can get in to see the MD or DO.
If you are one of the few who cannot accept less than an MD as your primary care, Eisenhower offers the 365 program which gives you access to a provider with a smaller patient load. There is an annual fee for this service and the providers accepting new patients in that program fill up quickly. There are also private concierge level providers who charge a much larger fee for exclusive access.
If you are sure you want to give up your current primary care provider and seek a new one, please wait until you have found a new provider, then ask the new provider how they would prefer to receive your medical records. this can be electronic or hard copy. Either way, you will probably be charged a fee from your last provider for copying and providing the records. this cost is not covered by Medicare or other insurance.
One final note. the shortage of primary care in our area is not expected to improve significantly in the next 20 years.
Don’t forget the Birthday Rule
California law allows you to make a change to your medicare supplement in the 60 days following your birthday. The change must be to a same level plan, or lesser level plan. Otherwise, you must answer the health questions and you can be denied.
We have found that for most people, the G plan continues to be the appropriate level of coverage. However, at age 70 or over there can be significant monthly savings by moving to a “high deductible” G plan. You will pay more out of pocket, but there is a maximum of $2,490 (for 2022, it increases each year). Many save $100 per month or more when changing to this plan.
For example: at age 72, an average G plan premium is slightly more than $200 per month. The High deductible plan average is $72. Thats a savings of approximately $130 per month or, $1560 per year. You do risk more out of pocket, however. You pay the Medicare part B co insurance of 20% for all medical services. and, if you change your mind and want to return to a G plan, your application can be declined for pre-existing conditions.
Call us or email us for a birthday review.
Important Dates Ahead
Office hours change: We are back to our normal business hours now. Mon-Thu, 10am-4pm. We are closed Fridays for application processing.
June-July: When we expect other medicare supplement to adjust rates.
We will alert you if we see any dramatic changes
October 1: Annual Notice of Change Notices sent to every person enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan. Extremely Important content!