Waiting to see a doctor for weeks is nerve-wracking for many. For many picking up the phone to call their doctor can cause stress the results in dealing with a frustrated office clerk or some other reasons. In addition, once you are seen by your doctor, your time with them may be short and worse yet, confusing.
More and more Americans are signing up to receive personalized medical care. Known as concierge medicine or boutique medicine, patients pay an agreed monthly fee or sign a yearly contract. Those fees can range anywhere from $80.00 to $200 per month depending on the region in which you live.
A typical concierge physician might have 150-600 patients vs. a traditional medical practice with over 5,000 patients. Furthermore, patients residing in urban communities, have to wait up to 24 days to see their doctor according to this 2017 report.
Benefits to the Patient
Signing with a concierge medicine physician offers many perks and advantages including:
- Same-day appointments
- Longer exam times
- Unlimited office visits
- Unlimited telehealth visits
- Access to your physician via email, mobile, or beeper
- Receive laboratory and/or diagnostic tests with immediate results
- Medical specialist appointments can be scheduled through the concierge physician’s practice
This concept removes the need for office administrators to file insurance claims as well as the difficulty in dealing with the inner bureaucracy inside insurance companies. Just as you are frustrated with long wait times, doctors burn out fast having to deal with the many issues you may not be aware of.
A Failing Health Care System
More and more patients are seeking personalized medical care. In states with a large elderly population such as Florida, or Arizona, it becomes increasingly more difficult to access an appointment with a primary care physician. The good news is that everyone at any age can enjoy concierge physician rewards.
Tele-Visit vs Live Appointment
Another form of concierge medicine is a Pay per Visit Fee where you can book a mobile appointment. In fact, this type of practice may accept Medicare or other insurance. They may offer a designated amount of visits per year at a fixed annual rate.
Concierge membership can be a costly endeavor. In most cases, your health insurance company will cover some of the out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions and hospital visits. Don’t assume anything, seek the advice of your accountant or financial planner.
Be smart. Research carefully all of the above options and remember that any concierge physician who denies you the right to interview them is someone to avoid!