As health care insurance gets more expensive and complicated by the day, new health care models are emerging to cater to patients who are fed up. And one of these models is primary direct care.
Primary direct care, or primary care, has become increasingly popular just as health care premiums continue to skyrocket. Health care providers now offer primary care to those who do not have or cannot afford the high health care insurance cost, and patients are turning to this model as an opportunity to afford basic health care.
But what is primary direct care, and how does it benefit the average American?
What is Primary Direct Care?
As the name suggests, primary direct care is a health care arrangement made directly between the health care provider and the patient without the involvement of any third-party insurance company. The patient pays the physician directly for their services, eliminating the need for filing health insurance forms and claims.
As you would clearly see, primary care was the system in place long before the national health insurance model was created. It created a direct relationship between physician and patient, enabling unwell individuals to call or meet their health care provider whenever they require their services. And this gave room for more personalized care, as there is a more profound and long-term relationship between doctor and patient.
However, the national health insurance model came as a means to cut costs for individuals, enabling everyone to get access to quality health care. But as time wore on, even these insurance premiums skyrocketed, thereby defeating the purpose for which the government created them.
And in the 2000s, primary care crept slowly but gradually back into American Society again as a means to counter the growing challenges citizens face with health care insurance. In this model, the patient does not pay monthly premiums or copays; they directly pay their physician a monthly fee. Therefore, primary care providers do not accept any form of insurance claim as they’re not affiliated with any private or government insurance company. However, patients who are registered under any high deductible health care plan can still use primary direct care.
As an average American citizen, how does the primary care model impact your general health and finances?
Benefits of Primary Care to Individuals
More Accessibility; Less Waiting Time
A general convenience comes with primary direct care that is typically absent in the national health insurance model.
Direct care patients usually do not have to wait in line for hours to see their doctor. One reason is there are typically fewer patients seeing primary direct care providers. Secondly, patients can obtain same day and next day visits, alongside the freedom to email, text, or call or video chat with their physician at any time round the clock.
Most doctors adopting insurance plans do not offer this level of approachability since it often proves tricky to evaluate the cost of digital consultation.
You Know Your Health Care Costs Beforehand
With the national health insurance model, you often leave the clinic without a jot of an idea of what bills your insurance will incur. You only get to know later when the insurance company and health care provider have finished negotiating and applying copays and deductibles. You will then receive a notice along with a description of what your bills covered.
But with primary care, you’re never kept in the dark about how much you get to pay. On the contrary, you know precisely the amount you will pay each month as a membership fee. You also know the flat fee for all visits, regardless of the kind of service you receive.
More Time and Attention
Since there are fewer patients crowding into primary care clinics, you get to spend more time with your healthcare provider. There is less competition for their time. Furthermore, no time is wasted filing health care insurance paperwork whenever you see your physician. All of these constitute more focused care and attention from your physician. And just as it was in times past, there is enough room for patient-physician rapport. With your health care provider getting to know more about you and your history, there is a greater tendency to get more personal health care.
Benefits of Primary Direct Care for Companies
With the national health insurance model, employers get to foot up to 70% of their employees’ health care insurance premiums. Also, employees have to leave work to see their doctor for every consultation they need to make. So how does the primary care model make life easier for both employers and employees?
With the high level of accessibility and convenience that primary care brings, employees no longer have to leave work to see their doctor for minor ailments. They can call, email or video chat with their primary care provider right in the office. This remote consultation means less work time is lost. And this benefit is especially true for patients with lifelong diseases such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, etc.
Better Health, Improved Productivity
Since workers can get longer visit times and more personal round-the-clock consultations with their health care provider, they tend to see the doctor more. Consequently, minor ailments can be diagnosed and treated at their early stages before they become full-blown. This translates to the overall better health of employees, which is a plus to the company as there is increased productivity and fewer sick calls.
Primary care offers cost savings to both employees and employers offering health insurance coverage.
A primary care provider may charge a flat monthly fee of around $100 per employee. For those who need to speak with a doctor more often, this translates to significant cost savings when considering how much their insurance plan would have incurred for the same number of visits per month. Additionally, primary care rates do not suddenly skyrocket yearly as insurance premiums often do.
Furthermore, employers can get cost savings and substantial value by adding primary care to their high deductible health insurance plan.
As we have seen, primary care potentially offers cost savings, more personal care and attention from your physician, and better overall health. And with the growing rise of health care insurance premiums, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more people moving towards this health care model.