Many innovative employers are addressing the challenges of growing healthcare costs and the impact to their businesses. One approach to solve this challenge is an employer-sponsored Direct Primary Care plan as part of the overall benefits program.
What is Direct Primary Care?
A Direct Primary Care (DPC) program offers access to primary care physicians for a range of defined, routine healthcare services. That sounds similar to how most people “go to the doctor” today … right? And largely, going to a doctor in a DPC practice is the same. The main difference with DPC is around payment. DPC practices get paid directly from patients – usually in the form of a monthly flat fee, while physicians working under traditional plans get paid at the time of service, and that usually has an intermediate step of filing a claim against an insurance plan.
Here are five key things everyone should know about Direct Primary Care:
- It’s still healthcare. The only difference is how the doctor gets paid. DPC physicians are board-certified and deliver healthcare in the office and now more frequently via telemedicine visits.
- The main difference is how the doctor gets paid. With traditional practices, the process usually involves filing a claim against the patient’s insurance plan, which involves a third party and takes time. With DPC, patients make direct payment to their physician practice, usually in the form of a flat monthly fee. And yes, the monthly fee is usually very reasonable.
- Patients can see their doctor sooner. Patients can often schedule appointments for the next day or sometimes even the same day. How? DPC practices often serve fewer patients, which makes scheduling much easier and more efficient.
- No extra payments for doctor visits. Because it’s a flat fee – like a membership or subscription – there are usually no other fees for doctor’s appointments. If lab tests are needed, those costs are usually pre-defined and clear to the patient. And again, these costs are affordable.
- Patients may still need health insurance. That’s right. You need insurance for unexpected challenges. Like an unplanned surgery. Or treatment from an accident. Insurance helps you cover the unplanned costs for unexpected issues.
DPC plans are very attractive for both individuals and employers. Why? Because you can plan. For individuals, you can schedule appointments easily and often much sooner. You can spend more time with your doctor. For employers, you can predict and better manage the cost of your employer-sponsored healthcare plan. And because it’s a direct payment to the provider, it’s eliminates intermediate processing steps and is less costly than paying for traditional plans.
Our advisors understand the challenges of rising healthcare costs in your employer-sponsored plans. And we’ve helped many clients across the nation implement innovative programs that save money and deliver more benefits for employees.
Get Healthcare that Works. Contact us today to learn how we can help you think different about healthcare.