Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve changed every aspect of our lives to protect ourselves and our community from spreading coronavirus. In 2020, many medical visits were put on hold or moved to telehealth, causing many of us to skip our routine preventive visits. But the past year has been hard on our health in so many ways – from the extra stress and anxiety of the pandemic to less activity due to social distancing guidelines. For many reasons, now is the time to get caught up on our health care in a preventive way.
Having a primary care provider is good for your health
Research shows that people with a primary care provider (PCP) enjoy better health outcomes. People who have a relationship with a primary care provider as their usual source of care are more likely to receive high-value care, have better access to care, and report a higher satisfaction with their health care. (Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, March 2019)
A PCP who you see regularly is likely to find problems sooner and can be a trusted resource who follows you over time. Seeing your PCP regularly can also help save money and avoid more costly care, such as an emergency room visit.
What types of doctors are PCPs?
Refer to the Making informed health care decisions page on the Balanced You website to see a list of they types health care providers you can choose as your PCP.
Your PCP is your medical “home base.” It’s the provider you visit for most medical needs, including preventive screenings, care for chronic conditions, and non-emergency illnesses. Your PCP is the person you speak to about your health questions and concerns, both mental and physical. They will also be the one to refer you to a specialist, if needed.
Need help finding a PCP?
Regence BlueShield members (KingCare and KingCare Select)
It’s easier to find an in-network PCP if you have an online account. You can access your account or create one by clicking “sign in” at the top of the Regence home page. If you’d rather not create an account, follow the steps below.
- Visit the Find a Doctor page.
- Under For guests, select Search now
- Select the “Choose a Network” from the pop-up screen.
- Enter the network name found on the front of your ID card. King County employees are in one of the following networks:
- PPO Plan:
- Preferred Network
- AHN Plan:
- Eastside Health Network
- MultiCare Health Network
- UW Medicine Network
- PPO Plan:
- Enter your location information on the top navigation bar
- Choose “Routine Medical Care/Primary Care Provider” from the lower navigation bar
- You can filter based on gender, language spoken, specialty and other criteria
- You can also call the Customer Service number on your ID card for assistance locating a primary care provider.
Kaiser Permanente Members (SmartCare)
Kaiser Permanente (SmartCare) Members are assigned a PCP within ninety days on joining the plan. You can also change your PCP at anytime. The best way to find a Kaiser Permanente PCP is to log in to your account. If you don’t have an account established, follow these instructions:
- Sign in to Find a Doctor
- You’ll be encouraged to create an account by clicking “Sign in and Search”. This is recommended because it’s easier to find a doctor that lives near you. But if you just want to look first, click “Quick search.”
- Choose “Core” as the name of the plan you’re in
- Choose primary care
Alternatively, you can call member services for help at 206-630-4636 or 888-901-4636, Be sure to have your Kaiser member ID card when you call or search online.
Don’t forget about dental care
Delta Dental covers preventive dental screenings and x-rays 100% with no deductible for members in the Regular and ATU benefits groups. That means no cost to you!
More great news: Your coinsurance/copay for all other dental services will not go up in 2021 if you didn’t get a preventive care checkup in 2020. Normally, your coinsurance/copay increases by 10%, up to a maximum of 30%, for most services when you don’t get a checkup in the previous year, but King County is waiving that rule due to the COVID shutdown in 2020.
Make sure to schedule a dental visit in 2021 to keep next year’s costs low. Bonus—after you get a preventive screening, your coinsurance for most other services goes down the following year. If you get preventive screenings every year, you could pay nothing out of pocket for most services.