You just retired from the military and enrolled in TRICARE Select, or you are transitioning to Medicare. It dawns on you that you have to select your own health care providers. This can be confusing for those of us who were told where to go for so many years.
As you search, the most important thing to know is that a doctor must accept, or participate, with your health care plan. If they do not participate in TRICARE Select or Medicare, walk away. By "participating," it means the provider agrees to accept the Select or Medicare payment as their payment, in-full, for their services. They cannot charge you more than what Select or Medicare allows for that service.
[RELATED: MOAA's 2020-21 TRICARE Guide]
There is no simple solution to finding the “right” provider-doctor for you. Sure, you can find doctors easy enough. But will you like or trust them? For this, you must pick doctors and use them for a while to know whether they are keepers. However, you can improve your odds of finding the right doctors.
You can ask your family, friends, and coworkers for their recommendations. Don’t forget to ask your current doctors before you walk out of their door.
You can narrow your search to a family doctor or general practitioner first. Then ask this doctor who they recommend.
[MORE MOAA RESOURCES: TRICARE Under 65]
You can also go to the large health care system in your area. By selecting a system instead of a doctor, you’ll get many providers under one roof. The U.S. Family Health Plan is one of these systems for those who are eligible. The big health systems in your area will be well known.
Over time, you’ll learn to appreciate your freedom of choice and consumer power. Happy hunting.
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