California law requires health plans to provide timely access to care, meaning that there are limits on how long you should wait to get healthcare appointments and advice over the phone. If you experience any issues accessing timely care, you should contact your health plan. If the problem is not resolved, then you should reach out to the Help Center. As per a regulation that came into effect in January, members of a California private health plan have a maximum wait time of ten business days for a non-urgent appointment with a primary care doctor.
Interestingly, the typical wait time for family medicine appointments has decreased, indicating that it may be easier for new patients to access primary care. This decrease in waiting times can be attributed to a major shift in how patients access primary care in recent years. The difference in wait time for consultations by region is quite remarkable; for instance, patients in San Diego wait an average of 55 days to see an orthopedic surgeon, while those in Washington, DC only wait five days. In Portland, Oregon, the wait time for dermatology can be up to 84 days, while it is only nine days in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Major cities usually have higher proportions of doctors per capita than other areas of the country, but the survey results suggest that waiting times for doctor visits are increasing. It is important to note that California law requires health plans to provide timely access to care.
If you are having difficulty getting an appointment with a doctor within the specified time frame, you should contact your health plan and if the problem is not resolved then reach out to the Help Center.