Obamacare? Trumpcare? How About Direct Primary Care?
Is Insurance really necessary for healthcare to work for people? An increasingly bigger number of doctors are choosing to go a different route with healthcare, one that does away with the insurance model in the first place. Instead, they’re opting for what is called Direct Primary Care. Here’s more from Reason
Today there’s a small but growing movement of doctors who are opting out of the traditional health care system by no longer accepting insurance. This new approach is is called “direct primary care,” but it’s essentially a throwback to an era before insurance companies were responsible for covering routine services like ear infections or strep cultures.
When companies like Aetna, Blue Cross, and Oxford started signing the checks for even minor health care expense, it had a destructive impact on the doctor-patient relationship. The direct primary care movement is an attempt to reverse the damage.
Dr. Ryan Neuhofel, who’s been running his own direct primary care practice in Lawrence, Kansas since 2011, has a page on his website that lists the cost of each procedure, which the patient, not the insurance company, actually pays.
Need an x-ray? That’s $25 to 40, along with a monthly subscription fee that runs from $35 for minors to $130 for a family of four.
Most direct primary care practices charge a monthly subscription fee. It allows them to offer other services, like answering patient phone calls, text messages, or even having appointments over Skype—services that our insurance-dominated system doesn’t allow for.
“Because I’m membership supported if someone calls me and says, ‘hey, I have a rash,’ they can send a picture,” Neuhofel says.
Removing the interference of third parties changes the dynamic between patients and their doctors.
“We’re able to be creative in meeting their needs,” Neuhofel says. “[We are] able to give them transparency in pricing, and redesign the entire health care experience around what patients really need.”