People whose health insurance is through a PPO have the lucky option of seeing a specialist without having to get permission from their primary care doctor first, but those using HMOs aren't so lucky. If you have switched plans from a PPO to an HMO, you now have to talk to your primary care provider first even if you know exactly who you need to see regarding a condition.

For women who often have to see a gynecologist, that extra step to get permission can be annoying, and many choose their gynecologists as their primary care providers instead. However, whether that's a good choice for you depends on your general state of health.

If You Know What's Going On

Obviously, if you have repeated gynecological issues and have to set up new appointments often (as opposed to follow-ups), then choosing your GYN as your primary doctor makes sense. But that also means that if you have other health conditions or develop a last-minute general health condition, you'll find yourself in the same boat as those who need to see a GYN who isn't a primary provider. You'll have to get your GYN's approval to see another doctor, or go to Urgent Care. Even if you have the friendliest GYN who will approve all your requests quickly, that's still an extra step.

Changing Times

If you're headed toward menopause, a GYN can be very helpful, but once you're past menopause, you may need to switch anyway as other health issues could take over from gynecological issues. That's going to be highly personal, of course, but it is something to consider.

Family Doctors

If your family tends to have specific problems that are hereditary or that stem from something you all experienced (for example, effects of living in a moldy house), it can help to have one family practitioner treating everyone. You'll have to decide which doctor you see more.

Also at play is the ability to change your primary care provider on your plan. If you can do that at any time, or a few times per year, then that makes it easier to choose because you can always change if it turns out you have to get permission to see another doctor too often. If the plan restricts you to one doctor choice per year, though, you have to be very careful about who you select.

Regardless of your plan, you can always call and leave a question for the doctor. You may want to ask the GYN if he or she has any experience with being a primary care provider on the plan and see what those experiences have been like, too. Your doctors want you to be able to get the care you need, so don't be afraid to ask questions. Learn more by contacting services like Lifecycles OB/GYN, PC.