It comes as no surprise that there are many people that are extremely frustrated with the current state of the health-care system. This is where concierge medicine comes in. This is a very different, yet not completely new approach when it comes to healthcare. It is gaining popularity due to that it gives the patient’s more control.
What Is Concierge Medicine?
It is explained as having a relationship that is direct with your physician. Unlike the majority of the medical systems whereby the doctor will be working for a hospital system, and insurance company, the concierge doctors are basically private practices that work for patients directly. What this generally means is that you will be getting more access and face-time with your chosen doctor.
The way that these services works are also slightly different. Many of the concierge practices will provide a host of different services that are included for an annual or monthly fee which is paid directly to these practices, which is not included in insurance. So even though certain individuals will have their own health insurance as an extra layer of protection, others don’t. similar to choosing either a high or low deductible plan through a standard health insurance plan, many individuals often make the choice to add in additional insurance which generally corresponds with their disposable income and health status.
Yet many people prefer the added protection. Most that make use of the concierge services still take out disability or catastrophic insurance to safeguard against a serious illness or major accident to make sure they are covered. These are plans that usually cost less than standard health insurance, yet can quickly add up when paying for concierge health-care at the same time.
What Are The Benefits Of Concierge Medicine?
The biggest upside associated with providers includes attention that is more personalized and longer visits. Many patients prefer this level of service, and due to these benefits, there are more of these providers popping up. Some of these private practices include Parsley Health in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, Next Health in Los Angeles, One Medical which is available in 9 cities nationwide, and Five Journeys in Boston and Massachusetts
These private practice all provide the much-needed change associated with traditional medical models that involve a short 15-minute consultation with a doctor and rare availability of same-day appointments, which often lands up with sending patients to the ER or for urgent care, or even leaving these patients with the symptoms they are suffering from for days and sometimes even weeks.
The Concierge medical clinics are focused on providing timely accessibility to health care, wait times that are dramatically shorter, and a longer visit time with the doctor, which offers a way to treat the full needs of the patient. Making an appointment is typically done online, through an app or making a direct call to the doctor’s office.
In addition, patients often find that they have more choices when it comes to the tests and treatments on offer, and for certain patients, this often translates into improved long-term health. Many individuals do not have the right level of insurance cover or ready access to information or medical providers which means they may not know about how to prevent a major illness or identify an urgent health problem. Concierge medicine provides a way for patients and doctors to build closer relationships along with readily available access to experience and knowledge. This often assists in preventing illnesses in the way of diagnosing and offering early treatments.
What Are The Downsides?
So even though patients are getting an increase in personalized care, a decrease in waiting time to see a doctor, and a level of control over the treatments that they need or want. The major drawback has to do with the price. Concierge medicine will always cost more than standard health insurance, and they might bill the patients insurance were and if they can, yet then charge an additional cash fee when it comes to non-covered services.
In certain cases, this might not be the best option financially for patients that already have a chronic or pre-existing health condition. It will usually only cover the primary care services, which means that the people that are already chronically ill, most of these services are already provided for through their health-care plans. Certain things such as tests that will need to be administered in hospitals or prescription medications are often billed to the traditionally based health insurances.
Similar to the standard health insurance, there will be various price options. For example, Parsley Health charges $150 a month (which is supposed to be used with regular health insurance). Some of the exclusive medical practices can even charge as much as $80,000 a year for a family. There are a variety of different options that fall between these two price points.
With this in mind, for those that have the funds available in addition to standard insurance, it could be a beneficial option for individuals that have an existing health condition. It is even more beneficial for the people that have medical conditions that are complex, people that travel often, or for those that have very busy schedules. These services provide patients with the ability to contact their physician even when they are out of the country at any time through their cell phone, along with scheduling a home call when it is needed.
Is Concierge Medicine Right For You
If you are interested in a concierge medical plan, here are a few tips to help you decide whether these services are right for you:
1. Visit A Concierge Doctor
When possible pay a visit to the medical practice that you are interested in. Try and meet the doctor that offers these services. Do you feel comfortable with the doctor? How do you think the office compares to regular doctor’s offices? If you had to get really sick, do you feel confident about going there? It is important to ask yourself these questions if you would like to make the switch.
2. Find Out What Services Are On Offer
Today there are various medicine types. Some provide ongoing primary-care with a doctor, while others are similar to “kiosk medicine” where you are offered with cutting-edge, science-based medical treatments and tests, where you are able to book an appointment for any type of treatment or test that you need. You need to make a decision on what approach suits your needs best.
3. Find Out What You Have Spent On Medical Care Over The Last Year
What were your costs for your out-of-pocket expenses for medical over the last year? Does your health-insurance plan work for you? Or did you spend more or less than what you will now pay for a concierge service? For certain patients, money is not the most important factor, yet if you are more interested in saving money in the way of making the switch, finding out how much you have spent on your medical care in the last year or 2 is very important.
4. Set A Budget
If you have decided that concierge medicine is the ideal option for your needs, make a decision on what you are willing to spend. Some of the providers work on yearly payments, while others will require monthly payments. Find out as much as you can so that you can gain a full understanding of every potential cost involved from the providers that you are interested in.