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There are several ways to find Medicaid providers, both main physicians who would treat patients for average illnesses and specialists, or those in related health fields. Before looking, however, people should consider waiting until they speak to their doctor, if they have one. Some doctors are Medicaid providers but don’t accept new patients. However, if a person has a longstanding relationship with a physician and that physician is already a provider, she may make an exception and extend coverage to an existing patient. This situation occurs often when people switch from having other forms of insurance to Medicaid and is worth investigation for those who don’t want to switch doctors.
One method that takes a bit more time is to look in the business section of a phone book under physicians. Some doctors will have ads that say they accept Medicaid. Another way to go is to start calling doctors, but this takes time when people live in an area with a lot of physicians.
People who live near state run hospitals that have outpatient care clinics may be able to find providers at these facilities. If the physician maintains a patient practice at the hospital, as do many specialists, it can be fairly easy to find certain kinds of providers like obstetricians and gynecologists, or pediatricians. Most state run facilities including those attached to excellent state medical schools, are required to serve patients who have Medicaid.
Probably the simplest way to find Medicaid providers is online at the US website for Health and Human Services. This site allows people to search by zip code, city, and by distance to find people who are currently listed as Medicaid providers. Those looking for a doctor can narrow their search returns to various specialists, general practitioners, pediatricians, or others.
People navigating this website are asked whether they would like to search for participants or non-participants, and this distinction is worth exploring. Participants can be defined as those doctors who will accept any Medicaid patients that visit them. This doesn’t mean non-participants won’t take Medicaid. Non-participant physicians get to use their discretion to determine if they will take a patient that is only covered by Medicaid. When a person is interested in selecting a non-participant physician, they will need to contact that physician to determine if he or she will accept a Medicaid patient.
The search process on the website is simple and returns results quickly, but some people may not have access to the Internet when they need a physician. If it’s a medical emergency, people can go to most urgent care centers and most hospitals, which are obligated to provide treatment to stabilize someone. It is still in a person’s best interest to find a regular doctor, since visits to urgent care clinics and hospitals are much more expensive to the state and aren’t always necessary. When the situation isn’t urgent but a person can’t get access to the Internet, they may want to contact the local agency that administers their Medicaid program and ask if they have an available list of Medicaid providers; if no such list exists, these folks may still be able to go online and perform a search to get this information quickly.