Going to see your typical healthcare provider or contacting your insurance company can take up a lot of your time, which can be frustrating when you have a busy schedule. You may not even be receiving genuine, personalized care despite the high stress, costs, and wait times you experience.
If you’re looking for a more hassle-free way to handle your health, you may benefit from a new healthcare model called direct primary care. With this model, instead of paying a fee for the medical service as it occurs, you pay a low monthly subscription rate that covers all of your basic primary care services each year.
Karen Buckalew, MN, APRN-C, Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, and Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years of experience from Boutiq Medical Clinic describes direct primary care as a “customized, individual treatment plan, [and] a boutique, intimate experience.” Let’s explore the idea of direct primary care and compare it to traditional healthcare.
What Is the Direct Primary Care Membership Model?
Direct primary care is not insurance. Instead, the model operates from membership fees. You pay a low monthly fee that covers around-the-clock access to your provider and services such as preventative services, sick visits, exams, annual physicals, access to reduced costs on laboratory and radiology testing, and more, with little to no wait time.
These services vary by provider, but they offer an alternative to the high costs associated with traditional fee-for-service healthcare. It’s important to note the direct primary care membership model is not a replacement for insurance, which covers things like surgery, hospitalization, or visits to the ER. This kind of “crisis care” can be covered by a high-deductible, lower-premium traditional insurance policy.
Karen points out the direct primary care model is preventive in nature. She says, “It doesn’t have to be because you are sick. The whole goal of direct primary care is health care and not sick care.”
What Are the Benefits of a Direct Primary Care Membership?
There are several benefits of direct primary care, including accessibility, the quality of preventive care, and a reduction in the amount of insurance troubles you may experience.
Reduced hassles with your insurance provider
It’s this simple: you pay a subscription fee to work with your primary healthcare provider to improve your health. By contrast, today’s fee-for-service models require that providers limit the amount of time they spend with you in order to stay profitable. It makes it very hard on both the healthcare providers, who want to help you, and patients, who may feel shortchanged by a rushed visit.
We can do better, and direct primary care is a new model that can change this entire structure to your benefit. Karen says, “When you have a large number of visits that are open to you, without having to pay extra, then you’re better able to take care of your healthcare needs and goals.” Then we may properly focus on how to stay well, preventing future health issues, and early treatment of potential health issues that may arise.
Direct primary care membership also benefits your healthcare provider. There is a great deal of overhead associated with insurance billing. Your provider issues the service, then the insurance carrier is billed by a billing company, and then the practice is finally paid. Direct primary care membership cuts administrative overhead in these practices by 30 to 40 percent. How this benefits you is that the practice can see fewer patients and spend more time taking care of each individual patient.
Increased access to your primary care provider
Having more one-on-one time with a clinical provider devoted to your health is a key benefit to this model. Karen says, “You have open access to texting, emailing, [or] visiting up to 12 times a year for various reasons.” This is pretty rare in modern healthcare, where the average length of a primary care visit in a traditional setting is just 15.7 minutes which includes the check-in time spent with the medical assistant. The direct primary care membership model is considered a smart money move because of how accessible and convenient it is.
Higher-quality preventive care
Preventive care is the key to good health. When used properly, primary care has become a proven model to reduce the rates of illness and even death, as well as the costs of care delivery. Primary care by its very nature is designed to help you take better care of yourself so that you reduce the chances of becoming ill later on.
Karen says, “Certainly, if you’re not feeling well, we take great care of you, but we would also like to discuss your goals for yourself.” This could include preventive care related to:
- Your goals for weight management or weight loss
- Your nutritional goals and optimizing your health
- Recovery goals for athletes
- Your overall health and fitness goals
This kind of attention to keeping you healthy for the long haul is exactly the kind of high-quality care you should expect from your primary care provider.
How Can I Make the Most of My Direct Primary Care Membership?
Having an immediate healthcare provider available for you to text, call, email, or even set up a telemedicine or on-site visit is a huge benefit for a lot of people. This kind of access can offer peace of mind as well as additional improvements to your health.
It also may cut your healthcare costs substantially. Direct primary care plans at Boutiq Medical Clinic in Orlando start at just $59 a month, and the staff are always excited to meet new patients and work with them one-on-one to achieve their health goals. Membership at Boutiq Medical Clinic also unlocks special pricing on point-of-care testing, aesthetic and wellness products and services, as well as provides select community partner perks.
If you’re worried about the high cost of healthcare and/or the quality of your care, isn’t it worth a conversation? Contact us today to discuss your options.