Choosing your PCP
We believe that your PCP is one of the most important parts of your health care. That is why we support you in choosing your PCP. You can select your PCP when you enroll with Aetna Better Health.
Call your PCP today to make an appointment for a “new member checkup"
This visit is also called a “well-visit” or “initial health assessment.” This first visit is important. Your PCP looks at your medical history, finds out what your health is today, and can begin any new treatment you might need. You and your PCP will also talk about preventive care.
Your children also need to get a checkup every year, even when they are not sick, to make sure they are healthy and growing properly.
Your PCP can:
- Teach you about healthy choices and ways to prevent illness
- Treat you when you’re sick and find out what the problem is
- Help determine if you have an emergency and send you to the best place to take care of it
- Give you a referral to a specialist when you need one
Different titles of PCPs
- Doctors who are general practitioners treat the most common medical problems in people of all ages. They often specialize in family medicine. They also may do small operations in the office.
- Internists take care of adults of all ages for many different medical problems.
- Obstetricians/gynecologists are doctors who treat women and their unique health issues. They often serve as a PCP for women, particularly those of childbearing age.
- Physician assistants (PAs) work with a doctor as a team. They can do most of what doctors do, but must be supervised by a doctor.
- Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses (RNs) with more education and training in a specialty area such as family practice or pediatrics.
Sometimes PCPs have other health care providers in their office that you may see. There may be nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses in your doctor’s office who help meet your health care needs.
How to choose a PCP
When choosing a PCP, make sure he or she is on our provider list. That ensures that he or she is someone who provides quality service to our members. You also should consider your personal needs.
- How friendly is the office staff? Are people helpful? Do they return your calls?
- Is the office open when you need it to be?
- How easy is it to reach the PCP? Can you reach them via email?
- Do you prefer a PCP that is friendly and warm, or one that’s more formal and to the point? Ask the office staff what type of doctor he or she is.
- Is the PCP known for treating diseases or preventing them?
- What do colleagues and patients say about the PCP? Check on the Internet for reviews.
- Ask your friends, neighbors or relatives for recommendations.
You can also ask your dentist or pharmacist for information that will help you make a decision. It’s easy for Aetna Better Health of California members to search for a provider.
How can I change my PCP?
Your PCP is an important part of your health care team. We want you and your doctor to work together.
You may want to change your PCP for the following reasons:
- You want a male or a female doctor.
- You want a doctor that speaks your language.
If you want to choose or change your PCP to another doctor in our provider network, call Member Services. You can also change your PCP through the secure member portal or by using the Aetna Better Health mobile app downloaded on your smartphone.
- In most cases, the PCP change will happen the first day of the month following your request.
- You will get a new Aetna Better Health ID card with the name of your new PCP.