Direct Primary Care: Affordable Concierge Medicine
The Hartford Courant showcased two primary-care physicians on page one. Drs. Jane Walker and Kathleen Mueller offer two concierge pricing options at their Windsor office (Holistic Health Partnering, LLC.) Patients can elect to a $55 fee for each visit, or a $30 monthly fee plus $15 per visit. Most think of concierge medicine as requiring annual retainer fees in the $1000+ range, but this plan offers similar access at a lower price point. (Holistic Health does participate with Medicare, but not with other insurance plans.)
Patients get enhanced physician access, and may get a level of care and attention beyond that of a typical primary-care practice. Physicians relieve themselves of much of the costly support operations of billing and administration, chasing accounts receivable, and the like.
Assuming a non-concierge practice administrative cost of 33%, the $55 visit charge corresponds to a $73.15 insurance payment. A non-cash benefit to the doctor is easier documentation for the concierge visit. The note can be “whatever the doctor thinks it needs to be”, rather than fulfilling bullet-point billing criteria corresponding to various levels of office visit under the insurance plan. I am disregarding the minor-but-not-zero monetary advantage to the doctor of getting cash up front (concierge) rather than cash later (insurance).
Which plan should a patient choose? The answer depends on how many visits one anticipates in a given year. Annual costs are the same under both plans at 9 visits per year ($495). Above that number, the retainer plan offers better value.
Concierge medicine continues to evolve, and represents a method for primary-care physicians to find a business model that works for them as well as for patients. This plan shows that concierge medicine can be an affordable method of obtaining primary-care access.
Disclaimer: Although I am not personally familiar with the above physicians, I am a graduate of the same medical school.
- Concierge Care Comes To Westport (06880danwoog.com)
- Is ‘Concierge Health Care’ Worth the Money? (dailyfinance.com)
- Doctors Concerned With Health Care System Gather in Scottsdale for National Conference (prnewswire.com)
- Why more primary care may not improve health care quality (kevinmd.com)