Let’s face it. The traditional model for healthcare is not performing as well as it once was. Prescription costs are skyrocketing, government reform is failing and, according to some studies, life expectancy is even decreasing.
Medical debt has become the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., while more and more patients struggle to pay their monthly premiums.
“As the [premium] rates rise, the healthier people pull out because the out-of-pocket costs aren’t worth it,” says Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini.
Meanwhile, a small group of doctors and patients nationwide are discovering an affordable solution to the healthcare crisis. Direct primary care is quickly becoming a movement of mega proportions. The direct primary care (DPC) movement is made up of physicians who have decided to walk away from the status quo and offer services directly to their patients, for a simple and transparent monthly fee.
Direct primary care works outside of the current government and insurance system. It provides a true alternative to patients who do not want (or can’t afford) to pay high insurance premiums every month. It is not a replacement for health insurance or catastrophic coverage. However, it is a model that is quickly growing in popularity for people who want quality care at an affordable price.
Is Direct Primary Care for Everyone?
One objection to direct primary care is from people who think they can’t afford to pay for both catastrophic coverage and a monthly DPC retainer. However, as DPC physician W. Ryan Neuhofel argues, the model actually “reduces financial friction and lowers ancillary costs.”
For example, Dr. Neuhofel provided one patient with an $8.12/month prescription that used to cost him $100/month through insurance. Also, because his DPC costs cover visits with the primary doctor, his patients are able to reduce their insurance premiums by as much as 75%.
The Future of Direct Primary Care
For now, DPC is limited to outpatient care. Most DPC doctors are family doctors who provide primary care services for a monthly fee that ranges from $30 to $150. With that fee, patients receive regular visits with their doctor, shorter wait times, access to lower-cost specialists and a personal relationship with their own physician.
Whether they visit their doctor nights, weekends or through telemedicine visits, they can freely communicate their symptoms and concerns. Also, most primary care doctors can give their patients access to lower-cost labs and prescription drugs. In some cases, the savings can amount to as much as 90% off.
The result is a healthcare model that flies in the face of traditional assumptions of how healthcare should be offered and accessed by patients. It’s healthcare, the way it should be. With DPC, everyone benefits. Everyone from low-income patients on government subsidies to hard-working upper-class patients who just want more time with a doctor who will truly listen to their concerns – rather than rush back to the mountain of paperwork on their desk.
Simply put, direct primary care aligns the interests of the doctors with those of their patients. It provides doctors with more autonomy and entrepreneurial options. It provides patients with more reliable, accessible and comprehensive care.
Direct Primary Care Makes Its Way to Central Florida
At Multicare Physicians DPC, Central Florida patients receive high-quality care without the high price tag. The Lake Mary facility offers direct primary care plans for teens, adults, and seniors. Patients enjoy monthly visits with their physician for less than the cost of their monthly phone bill. (The plan prices cap out at around $89 a month.) Procedures, labs, women’s health visits and medications can be paid for at-cost, rather than the inflated rates offered to insurance companies.
Multicare Physicians DPC is located at 2605 W. Lake Mary Blvd. #119, in the Park Place Plaza. You can also find them at http://multicaredpc.com.