Concierge medicine has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. This type of medicine is also known as direct care, membership medicine, or boutique medicine. This system allows the patient to pay an extra fee for a more personalized experience in the doctor’s office. Doctors have a lighter patient load as a result of this medical concept.
The Start of Concierge Medicine
Concierge medicine started in 1996. A Seattle doctor charged his patients a flat fee for more attentive service. This concept allowed the doctor to not rely on high fees set by the insurance company. This concept slowly made its way across the rest of the country.
How is Concierge Medicine Different?
The time spent between the doctor and patient is 15 minutes for a traditional visit. Insurance companies require doctors to see a high number of patients each day. Many patients feel that they have lost personalized care from their physician. Doctors who practice concierge medicine can spend more time with their patients. They can practice more preventative care with this service. Some concierge practices can offer 24-hour doctor access, same day visits, and low wait room times. Unfortunately, there is a cost for this service. These fees are called retainers and can cost a hundred dollars more per year.
Doctors Prefer This Model
Doctors prefer this model because they have to see fewer patients each day. They can make the same amount of money as a full day with the insurance companies. The patients feel that they can spend more time with their preferred doctor. Some patients cannot afford the retainer fee though. These patients often need to find a new doctor. This can leave a community with a two-tier healthcare system.
Concierge Medicine is Not Covered by Insurance
The retainer fee is not covered by the insurance companies. These fees must be paid out of pocket by the patient. Insurance companies have not embraced the idea of concierge medicine. This type of medical care can help reduce the cost of treating chronic conditions. If you think concierge medicine is for you, there are medical concierge services in your area.