From Bob Irish, editor, Retirement Insider:
Doctors don’t like the “patient mill” approach to medicine any more than their patients do. So, a growing number of doctors are changing their practices to a new model: concierge medicine.
Concierge medicine isn’t a new concept. It used to be the sole province of the wealthy. But not anymore. It’s been given a boost with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a corresponding doctor shortage.
Premiums can be as low as $2 per day.
Today, there are an estimated 10,000 concierge practices nationwide. Two-thirds of them charge less than $135 per month, on average.
Here’s how it works: You pay a monthly or annual retainer directly to your doctor. He or she then becomes your personal physician; the go-to person for all of your health care needs.
Concierge doctors limit the number of patients they see. They may treat six or eight patients per day, vs. 30 or more in a typical practice. So, instead of a quick 10 minutes, they can now spend 30-45 minutes with you. They have the time to develop a comprehensive prevention and treatment plan for you. Not to mention a personal relationship.
Concierge medicine frees doctors from the paperwork and billing associated with Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA’s private insurance companies.
This can cut their overhead by 40%. It also removes the middleman (the insurance company or government agency) and all the associated costs.
Concierge doctors can make as much money as high-volume doctors… without the stress. The services you receive depend on the size of your retainer fee.
Most concierge plans offer 24/7 access to your doctor by text, email, and cell phone. They also offer same-day appointments with no time spent in a waiting room. Your appointments will be longer. Your questions will be answered thoroughly. The focus will be on preventative medicine rather than reactive medicine.
And you’ll get big discounts on routine tests and scans.
A more expensive concierge plan may offer free blood screening, routine lab tests, flu shots, hearing tests, vaccinations, physical therapy, and an annual physical.
What’s not included? Surgery, hospitalization, prescription drugs, appointments with specialists, and lab tests done outside the office. And many concierge doctors will charge a copay for office visits.
Google “concierge medicine” or “concierge doctor” and your local area to find doctors who are using this new model near you.