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Tuesday, 15 October 2013 12:15

Healthcare for Young Families in the US

Parents are often faced with the anxiety of possible future injuries and illnesses because the cost of seeing a doctor or visiting the hospital involves high deductibles and co-pays. 

These days, healthcare is a raging topic for citizens, politicians and medical providers throughout the country. For young families especially, the question of affordable and quality care is an important one to consider.

But a new take on a traditional form of medical practice might be out to answer this question for families and individuals of all ages. The relatively recent concept of concierge care offers primary and preventative health services which are more accessible and affordable. 

What is DPC?

Concierge medicine is a return to the old days when the town doctor was paid in chickens or gold just like the butcher, baker, and blacksmith. Today, it is being called direct primary care (or DPC) and describes over 4,400 American doctors, as reported by Forbes magazine, who have grown tired of the red tape involved with medical insurance. By opening DPC practices, these physicians deal directly with their patients in a cash-only model.

In order to make this kind of care more affordable, many doctors charge their patients a monthly flat rate for unlimited access to primary care. These plans cost anywhere from $50 to$150 for an adult and generally around $10 for a child, says Concierge Medicine Today. In return, your doctor will see you once or see you once every day. It is also recommended that DPC patients carry low-premium insurance for hospital stays and other emergencies not able to be cared for by the DPC provider.

How Can It Save Money?

Even with a monthly fee and a lower-premium insurance plan, paying for direct primary care is often more cost-effective that traditional health insurance. This is good news for the working families that comprise 75% of America’s uninsured. 

“Insurance consumes more than 40 cents of each dollar,” reports the Direct Primary Care Coalition. In contrast, DPC saves money three ways by:

1. Relieving doctors from the cost of hiring a billing office.

2. Allowing physicians to move their income away from a pay-per-visit model.

3. Cutting out the middleman when purchasing tests and supplies from lab companies.

Because DPC is a flat monthly rate, doctors are not dependent on the volume of patients they treat in a day. This allows them to drop their patient lists from around 2,000 to about 300 or 400. This results in better care and less burnout.

Since doctors can order a cholesterol test directly from the lab company, the test can cost $3 instead of the usual $90 which an insurance provider would be billed. (This example was originally reported by CNN Money which also mentioned that an “MRI can be had for $400, compared to a typical billed rate of $2,000 or more.) 

Why DPC Offers Better Care

Because DPC is not dependent on the number of times a patient visits, it does not require doctors to see their patients in five to ten minute visits on what feels like a conveyer belt through the office.  Instead, doctors are more available to spend anywhere from a half hour to a full hour talking with their patients and trying to find the best solutions for them. In addition, doctors are able to enjoy increased career satisfaction while avoiding the stress of being over committed. 

Studies have shown that direct primary care results in better overall health. This is because DPC makes preventative checkups and testing more readily available. And that helps catch diseases more quickly and improve health and wellness.

For this reason, DPC also makes a great alternative for families. As children grow and play, they frequently fall, bruise, cut themselves, come down with fevers or runny noses. Being able to run into the doctor for a quick double check about a tumble down the stairs gives families increased peace of mind. 

If you believe that your family stands to benefit from a different kind of healthcare, then there are multiple options, such as direct primary care from MDVIP, to research. Equipped with better access to quality doctors, your young family can be on its way to better health and greater peace of mind about the future.

Image from www.pamfblog.org

Please note, this article is written in regard to the USA health insurance system and may not be applicable in all countries. Please consult with your local insurance and care providers for further information. 

Published in Child Health

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