You’re pregnant. You’re over the moon about your new baby, but you may not feel the same way about your healthcare provider. Believe it or not, this is a common feeling.
Most parents-to-be don’t realize that they can change care providers even late in pregnancy. Whatever your reason, remember that it is common to change providers and that it doesn’t need to be complicated. You deserve to feel respected, informed, and supported in your choices.
Below are some helpful tips if you are interested in changing your prenatal care provider.
1. Request Your Medical Records ASAP
You are entitled to a complete copy of your medical records. Practices are used to providing copies, not just in the case of patients switching providers, but also for insurance and other personal reasons. You can feel free to request records even if you’re not sure you want to break up with your current provider. Having them while you explore your options will help you discuss with the potential new provider any specifics about your care.
2. Navigating the Break-Up
It can feel a bit sticky to tell your provider you’re considering someone else. If you want to avoid the awkwardness, you can request your records and cancel appointments through a patient portal, call the front desk, or have your new provider request them on your behalf. You should also feel comfortable telling the provider you are switching. Providers understand that this is common and may be interested in understanding your reasons so they can improve their care in the future.
3. Timing is Everything (or, is it too late in pregnancy to transfer? probably not)
Transferring to a new practice earlier in your pregnancy is best, but most practices will accept transferring clients well into the third trimester. Don’t be afraid to switch even if you are farther along, especially if you’re seeking a different birth experience.
4. Keep it simple
Your new care provider shouldn’t need to perform the same physical exam that you had at the start of your prenatal care. Ask your new provider to review notes from the exam you already had, as well as any lab or ultrasound reports. Keep in mind though that your new group may recommend additional testing, or may want to repeat parts of the physical exam if there are any medical concerns.
5. Save your money for the baby – switching groups shouldn’t cost you.
Switching to a new practice shouldn’t increase your out-of-pocket expenses. If you pre-paid your current practice for visits you don’t intend to keep, they should be able to issue you a refund when you switch. You should only pay for visits you’ve already had.
6. Navigating Insurance
Your change-up shouldn’t affect your coverage but groups can have different arrangements with insurance companies. Contact your insurance provider to discuss any changes in your coverage.
If you’re changing practices because your insurance is changing, you’ll usually have to meet the deductible for your new plan before your insurance kicks in. This could mean that your total out-of-pocket cost goes up, but towards the end of the year, it’ll even out when all those pediatrician visits are covered.
7. Checking In
Check in with your new doctor or midwife about the kind of relationship you are expecting to have with them. Be clear about what you are seeking and be an active participant in your care. You will have fewer visits to get to know your new team, so communication about your health and your needs is key.
If you are interested in changing providers to Baby+Co., contact us! We look forward to talking with you.