Sometimes confused with concierge medicine, direct primary care is a creative new way for doctors to practice medicine.
1. Direct Primary Care is Not Insurance
Keep in mind that Direct Primary Care isn’t insurance. You don’t need health insurance to use DPC, but many DPC practices will require some form of it.
Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming Post:
How to get Health Insurance: A Step-by-Step Guide
Coming April 2019!
2. You Pay a Monthly Fee
In many cases the average fee is about $80 a month, but in your state it may be higher or lower. Depending on the DPC practice, prices may vary based on age, location, or if you get additional services. Most practices bill monthly.
For a lot of people (including me!), $80 a month or $960 a year is a lot of money, so let’s keep a tally and see if it pays.
Direct Primary Care Expense: ($960.00/yr)
3. Direct Primary Care Visits Are Twice as Long!
How long was you’re last doctor visit?
No, I mean how long did you actually spend with the doctor? 15 minutes? The average visit with a DPC physician is twice as long as a regular visit! Let’s do some math. The average copay is $24.00. So that’s $48.00 for 30 minutes. If you visited once a month for a year, we’re talking $576.00.
Copay Expense for a 30 Minute Visit: ($560.00/yr)
(Using Regular Insurance)
4. You can visit your doctor more often
Ok, so if you’re like me this probably sounds more like a punishment. But if you’re one of the 40% of people in the US with a chronic illness, you may already be making regular visits. One study cited by Forbes says we only make 4 visits to the doctor each year!
5. Additional Tests Can Be MUCH Cheaper
Don’t get me wrong, for the $80 a month you pay you already are getting pretty comprehensive services. Still, there may be times when you need something additional like X-rays. Many DPC practices will offer additional services at steep discounts or they’ve partnered with labs who have exclusive discounts for DPC members.
For example, a cholesterol panel might normally cost $75. At a DPC the cost might be $4.95… a 93% discount. A Pap smear could cost as much as $165. Go to your DPC and the price drops to costs $28, an 83% discount. So, on average you’re saving about 88% on tests.
6. DPC Savings Add Up fast!
How does this average savings of 83% on care translate to your checkbook? Most people won’t meet their deductible, so you have every incentive to save! A savings of 83% on an average deductible of $1,573 is $1305.59. Now of course your mileage may vary (YMMV), but if you are a heavy user of care – the type of person DPC most appeals to, this is a SIGNIFICANT savings.
Let’s imagine a scenario where you need a lot of tests, have an average high deductible plan, and you meet your deductible by the end of the year. Here’s the numbers… check out those savings!
Services Under High Deductible: ($1,573.00 / yr)
Same Services Under DPC: ($267.41 / yr)
So, let’s total up our findings:
Direct Primary Care Costs For 1 Year:
Membership Fee $960 + Routine Care $267.41 = $1,227.41
Health Insurance Plan for 1 Year:
Copays $576.00 + Yearly Deductible $1,573 = $2149.00
Total Savings by going with DPC = $921.59
The numbers above may not be your numbers. And before you make any financial decision you should definitely speak with experts and take into consideration your unique financial situation.
Direct Primary Care is not for everyone, but for people with high deductibles who want more personalized care, quicker access to their physicians, and can afford the subscription price… it’s a really compelling option.
Have you tried Direct Primary Care? Are you a DPC member or work in DPC? We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments below!