Concierge Medicine – What You Need To Know
The health care crisis is not going to be fixed with the Affordable Care Act (referred to many as “Obamacare”). In fact, the legislation is predicted to create a large influx of patients into an already stressed medical system. Many doctors are retiring because they are frustrated with the inability to truly care for their patients. The doctors who remain will be forced to utilize mid-level providers and to decrease the number of ailments that they can deal with on each visit. If they do not, they will not be able to keep their doors open. This will end up in longer wait times to get into your doctor plus shorter visit times when you do go to the office.
Physicians who love being able to truly take care of their patients have found a different path: concierge medicine. With concierge medicine the patient pays an annual fee (varies per physician). This fee allows the physician to stop relying solely on health insurances for daily operating costs. This, in turn, allows the physician to greatly limit the number of patients that he/she cares for. This gives the patient the ability to work one on one with his/her physician. You can get appointments when you need them and for the length of time that you need them. You can even get minor issues taken care of by phone or e mail (a great convenience for busy individuals).
It is time that we all realize that health insurance is really just disease insurance. It is there to help you when you have a problem: i.e. appendicitis, a broken arm, a heart attack, cancer, etc. Health insurance is not designed to be used to keep you healthy and to prevent diseases. Doctors are paid for by the disease codes that they see you for. Aside from a quick physical that they may pay for, they do not pay the doctors to see you for quality preventive care.
Yes, you need insurance to cover you in case of a catastrophe. But, to live at your best you must be willing to pay for quality preventive care. If you want to be reactive with your health, stay with “health” insurance. But if you want to be proactive with your health, concierge medicine is the path for you. With my concierge patients I get to offer integrative medicine (utilizing nutrition counseling, supplement advice, bio-identical hormone therapies, etc) at an affordable price and in a relaxed setting.