Doctor - How do I find the right one?
Does the SSA find me a doctor?
Many disability applicants mistakenly believe if they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that the SSA will either sent them to a doctor or will help them get proper medical care.
Unfortunately, this is well beyond the services provided by the SSA. The SSA does work with consultative examiners who will review your medical condition if you do not have medical evidence to prove you are disabled, but these consultants do not provide medical care and generally provide only a cursory medical review or your condition.
So what do you do if you need to find a medical doctor? Below are several steps you can take to ensure you get good medical care and medical evidence to prove you are disabled and cannot work.
Steps to finding a doctor
Unfortunately, navigating the healthcare system can require a significant amount of personal research and time. If you are sick and severely disabled you may need to ask a family member or friend to help you understand insurance and/or Medicaid reimbursements or to simply help you find a reliable doctor.
1. Find the right doctor for your condition
If you are trying to prove you have a severe heart condition, for instance, the SSA will expect you to see a cardiologist. While it is always a good idea to get check-ups from your primary care doctor, ask them if they have recommendations for a specialist if you have a condition that requires special treatment.
2. Find doctors who accept your insurance plan
If you have insurance it may be critical that you find a doctor who accepts your insurance plan. While recommendations may be valuable, especially if they are from trusted friends and family members, you could end up with very high medical bills if the doctor you choose is not in your plan.
3. Review your doctors credentials
After narrow your doctor search to a handful of doctors, you can do a license background check or call the state medical licensing board for more information about the doctors you have chosen. It is also important to find out if the doctor you are considering is board certified.
4. Make sure you like your doctor's bedside manners
Unfortunately, some of the most brilliant minds may lack simple interpersonal skills. When choosing a doctor you must evaluate if this matters to you. The ability to talk to your doctor, be heard, ask questions and feel that they care about your case may be a priority for you. Some patients may care less about this than others, but you have to decide if this is important to you.
5. No insurance- find a doctor who takes cash payments
As more and more individuals lose their health insurance it will become necessary for doctors to take patients who do not have insurance. If you do not have insurance it may be tougher to find medical care, but it is possible. Talk to your doctor. Explain your situation and find out if you can receive treatment with a payment plan or pay cash prior to service.