Having a primary care provider is good for your health

This article was updated Oct. 3, 2023

What is a primary care provider and why is it important to have one?

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. Watch this video on Choosing a Primary Care Provider for more information.

How to find a PCP

Regence BlueShield members (KingCare and KingCare Select)

Members enrolled in the KingCare Select plans are encouraged to choose a PCP. Follow the steps below and let Regence know who your PCP is in one of three ways—by calling 888-367-2112, visiting regence.com/pick-a-pcp, or emailing Regence at cs@regence.com.

Your PCP’s name is printed on your member ID card. If you don’t choose a PCP, Regence will assign you to the PCP you’ve seen in the past year or select one for you based on where you live, if you are new to the plan. You can change your PCP at any time.

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.
  • Click 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 (KingCare Select):
      • Eastside Health Network
      • MultiCare Health Network
      • UW Medicine Network
      • Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Network
  • Enter your location information on the top navigation bar
  • Choose “Doctor by Specialty” icon
  • Type “Primary Care Provider” in the box
  • 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 help finding 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

Having a dentist and scheduling a dental visit yearly helps to keep next year’s costs low. After you get a preventive dental 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.

The Delta Dental PPO Plan 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! Note: Deputy Sheriff plan members pay 0 – 30% for preventive services, according to their incentive benefit level. 

  • To find a dentist, check Delta Dental’s dentist directory online or call 866-229-4102
  • Find a Delta Dental PPO provider at Delta Dental of Washington.
  • Delta Dental does not use ID cards. 
  • View your County’s Dental benefits here.
  • Dental Dental contact information: Policy #s: Regular: 0152-30050; Transit ATU 587: 0037-0001(Full-time full benefits and part-time full benefits) and 0152-30030 (Part-time partial benefits); Deputy Sheriff: 0285-00000 | Phone: 866-229-4102 | Email: Delta Dental | Web: Delta Dental

The Cigna Dental HMO Plan is offered in addition to the Delta Dental PPO plan to the Regular and Transit ATU 587 employee benefit groups. With this plan, you choose a primary network dentist who provides most of your care and refers you to specialists. The plan offers a large network of dentists and specialists with generous orthodontia coverage for both children and adults. This plan has no deductible and no annual maximum benefit.

If you need more support, please contact our benefits team: Phone 206-684-1556 or
Email kc.benefits@kingcounty.gov

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