As healthcare plans get more expensive, complicated (and often more confusing), and wait times to see doctors extend up to weeks or months, new and innovative ways to allow people access to healthcare are now being implemented. Those without health insurance or those frustrated with their current increasing insurance premiums are increasingly turning to direct primary care as an affordable and more personalized care experience.
Because direct primary care is a relatively new take on healthcare, understanding the differences between DPC and the traditional primary care we’ve grown accustomed to is important, not only to see all the benefits of direct primary care, but also determine which option works best for you as a whole. This article will help better acquaint you with direct primary care and help you differentiate between direct and traditional healthcare.
What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct primary care (DPC) gives family physicians a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging members a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee. This fee covers all or most of your primary care services including clinical and laboratory services, consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management.
Because some services are not covered by a retainer, DPC practices often suggest that members acquire a high-deductible wraparound policy to cover emergencies, or another insurance alternative option that will protect members in the case of necessary surgeries, hospitalization or a large medical claim. Basically, the DPC concept is intended to take the practice of medicine back to its roots, where physicians were able to get to know their patients because they weren’t forced to practice within such tight time constraints now imposed by insurers. Direct primary care practices do not accept insurance of any kind, eliminating the associated red tape and allowing physicians to build rapport with each member.
What is Traditional Health Care?
Traditional health care (where health insurance pays for nearly all types of medical services and products) has been the standard in the US for almost a century. With traditional care, you see a physician, typically called your primary care doctor or general practitioner. They see you about everyday concerns, checkups and health issues. You may get assigned one without ever meeting them and most lower-income insurance plans don’t allow you to or make it very difficult to change doctors.
Is Direct Primary Care Expensive?
On average, Direct Primary Care’s costs are lower than your traditional healthcare plans. This helps members feel more at ease when they visit their care provider and encourages members to seek out regular care rather than avoid seeing their doctor until something is wrong.
Benefits of Direct Primary Care
Members get to Know Their Doctors
Americans value having a relationship with their doctors and want someone who knows their background and medical history. Younger generations also want more personalized healthcare, with 54 percent of millennials reporting they are or would like to follow their health care professional on social media. Direct primary care offers a kind of one on one service you just don’t get with traditional health care.
Clear Pricing and Billing
Because DPC doesn’t go through insurance, members pay a monthly fee that covers their costs, with no added fees. You won’t get shocked by a large bill with hidden fees like traditional healthcare has become notorious for. Monthly payments for DPC may change marginally over time, but members receive advanced notice before anything goes into effect.
Better Member/Provider Relationship than Traditional Healthcare
The DPC model thrives off of the fact that members get more with their physicians. Getting more one-on-one time allows for better service, proactive care, and understanding and diagnosis of issues that may have otherwise gone unnoticed, leading to a deeper understanding of one’s health. As a result this empowers members to open up about their health concerns, improve communication in regards to those health concerns, and get better results as a result.
Limitations of Direct Primary Care
Only Available for Primary Care
Direct Primary Care only covers your primary care needs — it is not comprehensive healthcare. If you need to see a specialist or require any type of surgery, for example, it will not be covered by DPC, and you will need to see specialists outside of the DPC system.
You Still Need Health Insurance
Though DPC doesn’t require health insurance for billing, it doesn’t completely negate the need for health insurance or a health insurance alternative, as stated above, it is only for primary care and may not cover more serious health care issues, events, or specialized procedures.
Personalized Healthcare with You in Mind
At Assurance Health & Counseling Center, we believe that you and your health are what matters most. Our membership plan grants our members unlimited access to our medical providers for one low flat monthly fee, which means no copays, no deductibles, no dealing with insurance requirements or regulations.
We also offer counseling to all members, as we believe in taking care of the whole person, body and mind.
Contact us today and learn how a membership with us can help you live a happier, healthier life.