A growing trend is sending doctors to use monthly membership fees instead of payments from insurers.
A growing number of doctors are refusing to accept health insurance in favor of other systems such as monthly membership fees. This has been a response to challenges that they have faced with insurers as well as struggles they’ve seen among their patients.
Doctors feel held back by a system encouraging them to consistently see high patient numbers.
Struggles with claims processes and rising costs have also frustrated their patients. Doctors feel as though they aren’t practicing at their best because of the number of patients they’re required to see every day. Therefore, a rising number of doctors and consumers alike are looking to an alternative to having to accept health insurance. These alternatives include direct primary care, reported the Chicago Tribune.
A direct primary care practice will typically charge a monthly membership fee to its patients. Depending on the practice and the membership plan, the cost associated with the fee can range from $35 to several hundred dollars per month. The memberships cover visits and additional services which are outlined in the plan. Fees can be charged per individual or family and may depend on issues such as age. Some practices have started offering group membership packages for their employees.
Refusing to accept health insurance is a controversial strategy, but it does seem to be taking off.
Those in favor of the direct primary care practice model feel it offers more convenient and personal care. Doctors in these practices say that it stops them from having to keep up with high patient numbers. This allows them to place their focus on their patients, not their numbers. This is because doctors in this type of practice will typically see far fewer patients each day than physicians in traditional primary care practices.
That said, critics of this model are quick to caution that this type of system cannot replace traditional health insurance. They warn patients looking to memberships that their insurance policies provide coverage for a great deal more than their family doctor care. Moreover, they state that people paying monthly memberships are overpaying for the health care they receive.
Moreover, they caution that if this type of system that won’t accept health insurance becomes popular enough, it will create a primary care doctor shortage.