Concierge Medicine and Whether It’s Worth It


My primary care physician recently left the practice and invited me to join her new job, the Concierge Medical Group. There, for a membership fee, you’ll get more personal access to her services, including same-day appointments and longer conversations.

Concierge medicine—a model where patients pay a membership fee to develop a more direct relationship with their primary care physician—used to feel like a perk for the super-rich. But with prices dropping and people becoming more dissatisfied with the status quo of traditional primary care, concierge services might seem like a less expensive option. Reduced wait times, increased access, longer visit times, and better coordination of care. However, it can be expensive, and if you don’t have complicated medical needs, you may not feel it’s worth the expense.

what is that?

Concierge medicine is a system in which patients pay a membership fee to see a doctor. Your rates cover a wide range of services, and your insurance can cover all your non-medical needs. In other cases, the fee covers basic preventive care and the clinic covers the rest.

But overall, your experience is more personal. Medical concierges typically offer same-day appointments and 24/7 access to doctors (by the way, doctors are never rushed during an appointment).

Terry Bauer, CEO of SpecialDocs, a company that helps doctors transition to concierge care, says patients love the service because it allows them to spend more time with their providers . Phone calls, text messages, and emails are available for those with medical conditions outside of working hours. “Basically, we have that doctor on speed dial,” says Bauer. “This makes people more comfortable and significantly less anxious.”

ikura?

Medical concierge membership fees vary widely. For one large concierge network of doctors in 44 states, the fees typically range from $1,800 to $2,200 per year (or $150 to $183 per month). Other practices can do even more.

“I know a couple who are charging $4,000 a month,” says Bauer. Physicians charging such prices could have certifications in, say, two specialties, cardiology and internal medicine, or live in very wealthy parts of the country, he said.

The good news is that if you have a flexible spending or health savings account, you can use the funds to pay your annual fee, as long as they’re used for wellness benefits.

advantage

Concierge medicine has a lot to offer. Brett Jorgensen, chairman and CEO of his MDVIP, a physician concierge network, said doctors’ appointments can usually be obtained the same day or the next day, with minimal wait times. says there is. You usually have access to a healthcare provider at any time of her day, and with fewer patients, the doctor can spend more time with you.

“A smaller patient register gives doctors more time to learn more about you and your medical history, which can lead to more personalized and effective care,” says a practicing internist at TED Health. said Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, organizer of . podcast. “Concierge doctors can focus more on preventive care, which can help spot health problems earlier and potentially save costs in the long run.”

Cons

The biggest obstacle for most people is the price. “For people on a tight budget or without substantial medical need, this can be a significant cost without perceived benefits,” Ungerleider said.

In addition to cost, there are also practical concerns. Since concierge doctors are still a small percentage of the medical field, treatment options may be limited. You also pay for hospital and emergency room visits, major surgeries, and other specialist visits, while our Concierge Physician takes care of your regular or chronic concerns. will be

“There is no denying the need for health insurance,” says John Hansbrough, an employee benefits consultant at insurance and financial services firm LBL Group. “Bad things can still happen, so we need insurance.”

Advocates argue that concierge preventive care saves money overall. Let Jorgensen consider a scenario in which a text message exchange with a doctor eliminates the need to go to the emergency room at 2am. “More than 80% of his interactions with members are virtual,” he says. “They are simply bundled and included in the service.”

Concierge medicine is not easy for everyone. If you can’t afford membership fees or use health services infrequently, this model probably isn’t for you.

But it could be a game changer for chronically ill patients who would benefit from more advanced treatments. And for those frustrated with the traditional healthcare system, concierge care offers an alternative.

“The results are great for doctors and patients alike,” says Jorgensen. “We continue to renew more than 90% of her patients each year.”



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