Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a fairly new healthcare model. You may also hear it referred to as Concierge medicine or Subscription-based healthcare but they all refer to the same model where patients pay the doctor a recurring monthly fee, frequently $50-$75/month, and get benefits such as unlimited office and telehealth visits, same-day appointments and frequently, text messages with their doctor day and night.
Direct Primary Care aims to enhance the doctor/patient relationship by providing personalized care paired with accessibility and convenience. Patients have direct access to their doctor allowing them to seek care when and how it best suits their needs. These clinics typically limit the number of patients they sign-on to ensure the doctor has adequate time with each patient. The goal is to allow doctors freedom to spend the time necessary with each patient to understand and treat their health concerns. In a traditional doctor’s office, doctors are paid per appointment. Doctors who practice in the DPC model are paid through the subscription so they don’t have the need to see a certain number of patients each day.
Without the worry of “how much will this cost” patients can be more proactive in their health, seeing the doctor at the first sign of an issue instead of waiting until it becomes a major concern. DPC clinics usually offer discounts on services that are outside the scope of the monthly subscription fee. Services like lab work, imaging and even medications can be heavily discounted by obtaining them through a DPC doctor.
It is important to note that DPC is not health insurance or a substitute for it. Direct Primary Care is designed to treat your primary health concerns, similar to what you would see a primary care doctor for. If you have a health condition or injury that is best treated by a hospital or specialist, your DPC benefits do not extend to those treatments. You will want to also have a major medical health insurance policy to ensure that you are covered if such treatment becomes necessary.
High Deductible HSA-eligible plans pair nicely with Direct Primary Care. The health insurance provides coverage for large medical expenses while the DPC benefits cover day-to-day care. The savings in moving to a high deductible plan frequently covers the monthly fee and you can utilize the tax savings that HSA accounts offer.
Health care is never one-size-fits-all and the same is true for finding the right health care provider. Direct Primary Care is one solution. Building a relationship with a primary care doctor, whether DPC or traditional, has proved to provide better health outcomes. Regardless of the model, we encourage people to find a provider they trust and begin building that relationship.