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Can I Have Two Primary Care Physicians?

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By Daniel Petkevich
Oct 3, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Having Multiple Primary Care Physicians

Whether for an annual check-up or bringing a health concern to a familiar face, having a primary care physician you trust is beneficial.

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Some prefer to stick to just one doctor, while others like to get a second opinion or consult different specialists for specific health needs.
But when it comes to choosing a primary care physician, you may have questions:
  • When should I consult a PCP?
  • Can I see two different PCPs?
  • Will I get coverage if I consult two doctors?
Let's find out whether you need a primary care physician and if you can consult more than one.

What Is a Primary Care Physician?

A primary care physician (PCP) is a medical doctor responsible for preventing, treating, and managing routine health problems.
They help you with:
  • Preventive care
  • Treatment of common illness
  • Early screening
  • Managing chronic diseases
  • Referrals to specialists
Your PCP is the first person you see when you have an undiagnosed health issue or injury.
They also provide ongoing care for chronic problems —helping you manage your condition and stay healthy — and coordinate with specialists when necessary.

Do I Need a Primary Care Physician?

You don't need a PCP, but having one makes doctors' visits easier.
Whenever you visit a doctor for the first time, you have to review your medical history, list your current medications, and answer any questions that arise.
By seeing a PCP who knows your health conditions and medical history, you can fast forward through your backstory and get the help you need.

Benefits of Having a PCP

  • Have a go-to doctor for all your medical needs
  • Have a doctor who is familiar with you — your lifestyle, your medical history, and your daily challenges
    • This ensures you get the best available treatment
  • Stay healthy and manage your condition more effectively
    • Ultimately, lower your hospital stays and medical bills
  • Have a practitioner who can adjust your medications — as your condition improves or worsens
  • Get screening tests — detect problems before symptoms start
  • Get trusted referrals to good specialists

Can I Have Two Primary Care Physicians?

While it's good to have a PCP, some prefer to have two.
There are several reasons for this.
For example, some people have two homes — a winter home and a summer home — in two different states. They might prefer to have one doctor in each state.
So, how do you know if you qualify for two PCPs?
Well, that depends on your health insurance plan.
Let's look at a few plans and see whether they provide coverage for two PCPs:

PCP Coverage for Original Medicare

If you have Original Medicare, you can have two PCPs if you feel it's necessary (e.g., you live in multiple states, or your work requires frequent/extended travel).
Medicare doesn't limit the number of PCPs you can have.
However, you can't consult them on the same calendar day.

PCP Coverage for Medigap Plans

Since Medigap plans are extensions of Original Medicare, you can have two Primary Care Physicians. You are not restricted to a specific network, so you can visit any doctor's office or hospital that accepts Medicare.

PCP Coverage for Medicare SELECT Plans

If you have a Medicare SELECT Plan, your coverage is limited to a specific network of hospitals and doctors.
Check with your plan provider before choosing a second primary care physician.

PCP Coverage for Medicare Advantage Plans

Coverage for Medicare Advantage depends on the plan you select:
  • HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plans — typically cover only one PCP
  • PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans — might cover two Primary Care Physicians
  • PFFS (Private fee-for-service) plans — might cover two Primary Care Physicians
  • SNP (Special Needs Plan) — typically covers only one PCP
Check with your provider for more info.

Takeaway

A primary care physician can make doctors' visits more comfortable and help you stay on top of your health conditions.
Some people might even prefer to see two PCPs.
Consulting two physicians is possible, but coverage depends on your specific health insurance plan:
  • If you have Original Medicare or Medigap — you can see two PCPs
  • If you have Medicare Advantage or Medigap SELECT — your coverage may vary
If you're unsure whether your plan allows you to have two primary care physicians,

our experts

are here to help.
Give us a call at 1-888-376-2028.

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