Hello, my name is Gregory. When I was a young lad, I had to enter the health care world in an unexpected way. I developed a serious disease out of the blue that took doctors by surprise. I went through so many different testing procedures before my doctors could diagnose the rare disease. Everyone around me reeled as they tried to understand the purpose and process of the diagnostic tests. I hope to help others understand these important tests better through this website. Please come by often to learn all you need to know about medical diagnostics and working closely with health care professionals.
If you're tired of paying high health insurance rates yet still spending hours in the waiting room each time you make an appointment with your doctor, you may be investigating other alternatives to cut costs or reduce your waiting times. In other cases, your primary care physician may decide switching to concierge care is a worthwhile financial decision and invite current patients to take part in this switch. Concierge care can provide a number of advantages to its patients, but can also be quite an adjustment for those who have spent decades under the traditional system. Read on to learn more about concierge care to determine whether this is the right choice for your healthcare needs.
What is concierge care?
Most primary care physicians either work as part of a standalone practice or are affiliated with a local hospital. These physicians accept health insurance from a variety of providers and will often continue to accept new patients even if there is a lengthy waiting period for current patients who attempt to seek a nonemergency appointment. Because each health insurance company reimburses at different rates, some physicians may find that they actually lose money on certain patients as the cost (to the physician) to provide treatment is far less than the cost reimbursed by the insurance company. However, if the physician's office or hospital accepts this insurance, the physician often has little choice but to continue to see patients who are a net loss to the office's bottom line. To keep revenues up when some patients aren't profitable, these offices will sometimes overschedule appointments, resulting in lengthy waits or even cancellations.
In contrast, concierge care doctors have a set patient list and accept a limited number of patients each year. In exchange for a monthly or annual fee (often as low as around $150 per month), you'll have access to your physician by phone or email on nearly a 24/7 basis, and you are entitled to a certain number of "free" appointments each year. Because your doctor has patients on retainer rather than being paid only for the patients who come through the door, he or she will need a much smaller patient base to remain profitable. This should significantly decrease waiting times while improving access—a win-win situation.
How can you decide whether concierge care is the right move for you?
In the past, concierge care was believed to be the province of high net worth individuals who wanted the flexibility to have a personal doctor at their beck and call, even while traveling. However, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act and the resulting decrease in many insurers' reimbursement rates (along with a physician shortage in many parts of the country), concierge care has become a booming business even among the middle class. These services are often just as affordable as the copayments you'll make for doctor's visits, and you'll avoid having to take a half day or longer off work for a routine appointment that shouldn't last beyond the lunch hour. Concierge care can also be valuable for those who have chronic illnesses or other ailments, as you'll be able to have your physician's full attention during your appointment (rather than feeling rushed as he or she tries to squeeze in as many patients as possible).
While you'll still need to maintain primary health insurance in the event of any hospitalizations or other serious treatment, concierge care can often be a money-saving proposition, allowing you to switch to a more catastrophic healthcare plan with lower premiums (and a higher deductible) and then just pay a modest annual fee for the rest of your healthcare needs.
This system of care isn't for everyone—you may prefer to stay with regular primary care. Look for primary care physicians in Roan Mountain, TN, or your local area to learn more.