Monday, April 21, 2014

Family Medicine: Insurance and/ or Direct Primary Care- Changing Times in Health Care

I'm getting excited at the way patients are discerning their role change in health care.  They are getting to know how the high deductible health insurance works.  It's like a discount card, not real insurance.  They're expected to pay up front for their medication and their visits until they meet the deductible amount, often $3000.

They don't yet know what they have to pay for labs with their discount.  They're surprised when they see the price of their medications.  After they get the first sticker shock, they shift into consumer mode, often rejecting one of the prescriptions at the pharmacy and seeking a less expensive medication.  If they have asthma and bronchitis, they are out of luck since the inhalers are really expensive.  If they have COPD and bronchitis, they may have a $6oo medication charge each month.

They pay their co-pay of $20-35 to us, but three to four weeks later, get the discounted bill for the rest of their physician and office procedure charges.  They may not pay this until they see it for the third time, "I thought I had insurance."

After two or three visits, they have it figured out.  We're all set until next January when it starts all over again.

Many people just decide to get a Direct Primary Care doctor in addition to having the insurance.  They get more time with the doctor, generally don't have as many outside of office charges or go to ER's as much. They have a higher chance of not reaching their deductible. They spend $750-900 for their membership, monthly and any visit fees plus labs for their Direct Primary Care physician.  (Half that for their children, but more for infants).           

What do you think about your insurance or Direct Primary Care?

Learn more about DPC at the DPC Ohio Unsummit II May 17 at the Garden Inn in Beavercreek, OH.  Unsummit

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