If you’re dealing with chronic illness or health conditions that need special care, you probably know the struggle of constant calls and visits to your doctor. It can be a challenge to keep track of everything, and you may end up waiting weeks or even days to see your doctor.
That’s why direct primary care, more commonly known as concierge care, is rising in popularity. For a flat monthly fee, you get nearly unlimited access to your doctor. You may also get help coordinating your care plan and financial obligations. Read on to see if a concierge medical plan is right for you.
How Does a Concierge Medical Plan Work?
Concierge care is neither a medical practice nor health insurance. It’s a specialized service that fills in a major gap in healthcare: the ability to see your doctor whenever you want. It often guarantees same-day appointments, and your concierge can help you figure out the overall schedule and cost of your health plan.
Physicians who participate in a concierge medical plan often spend more time with their patients. One of the primary benefits of concierge care is that patients can have a closer relationship with their doctor. This personalized approach is crucial to diagnosing and treating chronic illness.
Pros and Cons
In a concierge medical plan, you can choose your own doctor as you would in a PPO. However, you’re not limited to a certain number of visits per year. And you don’t have to worry about a high deductible because you’re essentially prepaying for healthcare throughout the year.
Concierge care is not a replacement for insurance, though: if you need catastrophic care (e.g. an ER visit) or a specialist (e.g. physical therapy, dermatology, mental health), you’ll likely need insurance to help reduce your costs. A medical concierge plan can be a supplement to insurance, handling the day-to-day healthcare while a traditional HMO or PPO covers emergencies and specialty care.
It’s also important to know that concierge care is not subject to the same regulations as traditional health insurance. This means that pre-existing conditions may not be covered or that you may pay a higher fee based on your age, gender, and health status. Always research a potential concierge medical plan thoroughly.
Should You Choose a Concierge Medical Plan?
Concierge care is an excellent choice for those who find themselves making frequent appointments with their primary care physician or have a complex health history. Traditional health insurance is usually not meant to accommodate many, complex issues. If your insurance has a high deductible and/or a limited number of checkups, you’ll probably save money with a concierge medical plan.
However, if you rarely need to see a doctor and/or your health insurance plan has a low deductible, concierge care is likely not for you. If you’re dissatisfied with your current doctor, it might be just as effective to find a new PCP.
Concierge care is also helpful if you have chronic conditions that require a lot of coordination and planning. If you end up seeing a different RN or physician’s assistant at every visit, or you feel that your PCP doesn’t spend enough time with you, a concierge medical plan can help. You can also get assistance in navigating claims, payment, and overall health planning.
In short, a concierge medical plan is a way to get more frequent access to a doctor who will work with you to develop a health plan. Physicians in concierge care get to know their patients’ medical history and provide advice as often as needed — daily, for patients with chronic health conditions. You end up saving money over the year, and you can also benefit from expert assistance as you navigate the financial aspects.
Do you have more questions about if a concierge medical plan is for you, your family or potentially your organization? We’d love to help. Schedule a free consultation to be connected with a professional healthcare assistant who can help you navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.