So I looked up doctors listed in my area on my insurance provider's website. Called the first one, but they were not in the network. Neither was the second one I called, so I decided to telephone the insurance company and ask for doctors. I was given three names. The first two are not practicing at the addresses listed by the insurance company, but I tried calling them anyway and one is not taking new patients. The other is not practicing at all. The third guy's office was closed at 3pm on Friday. The recorded messages advised me to call back Monday morning, which I did just to be thorough but I was not surprised to learn that the guy was not taking new patients.
Feeling annoyed--I really hate phoning, by the way--I called the insurance company back and explained what had happened. "Oh," the very nice voice explained, "you may have had trouble because you were looking for a general practitioner. Let's try to find an internist for you." Whatever you say, nice voice. I got three more names.
Success! The second doctor I called was happy to schedule an appointment for me. I went yesterday morning to meet with Dr. Ortega, who I will be delighted to visit any time I decide to develop an allergy. She is a peach of a gal but she is an ALLERGIST working in an ALLERGY CLINIC. First Health Network, I think I hate you.
The good doctor was kind enough to give me a quick evaluation and order bloodwork to save me a trip once I find my actual doctor. She noted that my blood pressure was on the high side. Oh, really?
When I got home I called the insurance company again, not to rail (the phone answerers are not the culprits here, I assume) but to find out which lab I should visit. I was happy to hear that a nearby lab was on their list, but just to be sure I called the lab next. Sure enough, the lab no longer accepts my insurance. Yeah. So I called back, got a list of labs and finally found one that has not dropped them ... yet. I will go ASAP, but that's looking like Monday.
Dr. Ortega also recommended her gynecologist, who no one will be surprised to discover does not accept my insurance, but that recommendation made me think that maybe I don't need another primary care physician if I find a gyn who can do the check-up things. I got another list of doctors and the very first one was willing to see me next month, so either this ordeal is drawing to a close or some fresh hell awaits me.